On my way home last night, a deer jumped a fence and struck my passenger side front tire fender and broke my windshield glass. The deer wandered off and I was left with a damaged vehicle (Toyota Avalon). I have been asked on numerous occasions from clients if they are at fault if they accidentally hit an animal.
In addressing this question, it needs to be separated into two different issues: 1. your legal driving record, and 2. your insurance claim record. When your vehicle is struck by an animal unintentionally, you have not broken any laws. Therefore, you most likely would not be issued any traffic tickets and would avoid any blemish to your driving record. Typically, you would not be at fault.
If you have comprehensive insurance coverage on your vehicle, and wish to make a claim to have your vehicle repaired, then you will have a new claim on your insurance record. While this does not address the issue of who's at fault, the claim most likely will be taken into account when pricing your premiums - as the insurance company will have to pay out monies to fix the vehicle and have no other 'at fault' party to pursue for reimbursement.
I am not too excited about having to replace the fender, windshield and side mirror on my car, but I suppose it could have been much worse. Thank goodness I was only driving 35 mph.
Stickler Webb Insurance is an independent insurance agency with offices in Show Low, Safford and Sierra Vista, Arizona. Please visit, www.sticklerwebb.com for more information.