At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers we see clients everyday injured when they strike a cow or deer suddenly entering the road or an object. Collisions with a fixed or moving object are seen throughout Kentucky roads and highways and can result in very serious injuries and sometimes death. A fixed object collision is an accident that occurs when a vehicle collides with something that’s permanently placed or temporarily placed, such as construction equipment. Collisions with moving objects are most often seen in rural Kentucky with wandering cows or crossing deer on the road. Our laws firm has handled cases for over 47 years.
In Kentucky, particularly along country roads, vehicles come upon deer and cows causing either a collision with the animal or another fixed object such as a tree in an effort to avoid hitting the animal. Deer crossings and cattle that wander from a farm are not uncommon on small town and rural roads.
Liability is difficult to establish when a deer causes the collision as this may be unavoidable emergency for the driver. However, if it an be shown that the driver was speeding or distracted by a cell phone or other distraction, then a passenger who is injured can collect from the driver’s insurance and hold the operator of the vehicle responsible for their injuries. In the case of cattle, the farmer who owns the cattle can be responsible for allowing the cattle to escape the farm and wander on the roads. In that case the driver or passenger in the vehicle that hits the cow can collect on the farmer’s homeowner insurance policy.
Drivers should be aware that animals will suddenly jump into a roadway. Even in busy urban areas you may see dogs wandering into the street. These accidents usually happen when the vehicle is moving on the road and the animal suddenly encroaches in front of the vehicle. There are several ways that you can protect yourself when encountering a large animal and even save your life:
Control your vehicle: If the collision is unavoidable, gradually put on your brakes after you take your foot off the accelerator. If you can, swerve to avoid the animal but only change lanes after checking your rearview mirror to see that this is safe to do so. You do not want to lose control of your vehicle. The brakes should be eased on and not suddenly applied since this might cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
Stay aware: Always watch as you are driving, especially on rural countryside roads and places where animals may wander in the road. There may be wildlife road signs warning you so be extra cautious and do not go above the speed limit.
Keep your eyes on the road ahead: Always keep your eyes on the road ahead and avoid distractions. If it is a location where deer or other animals frequently wander in the road you may have your passenger keep an outlook.
Dawn and Dusk are dangerous times: Be especially careful at dawn and dusk when animals come out and wander the roads.
Your horn may be your lifesaver: If you do see animals about to cross the road use your horn to scare them away. Honking with short bursts can keep them out of the road while you pass.
Crash data from the federal government reveals about twenty percent of traffic crash deaths in 2019 involved crashes with fixed objects. Most commonly these objects according to the US Transportation are utility poles, trees, traffic barriers, signs, fences and even buildings. This is most commonly seen with construction companies where there is a road crew and equipment left standing on the road without proper flagging and yellow vests for the construction workers.
The above are the most common causes of crashes with fixed objects. Drivers should be extra cautious especially when driving through bad weather or construction areas.
Driver of your vehicle – if you are a passenger and the operator of your vehicle is distracted by cell phone use or other distractions and is not keeping a proper outlook for fixed objects in the road you may hold your driver’s insurance responsible for any injuries you sustain in the collision
Property owner – the owner of the construction company where equipment is negligently left in the road or there are inadequate signs or yellow vests as required when doing construction on the road may be held responsible for an accident
Government entity – where there are potholes in the road but in Kentucky the government is generally immune from liability. However, in those cases you can often collect from your own insurance particularly with property damage coverage. You can also collect from your own insurance for personal injury protection coverage for medical expenses, lost wages and other benefits.
Semi-Truck and Commercial carriers – Where cargo is improperly secured and left on the roadway you may be able to hold the commercial carrier or owner of the commercial vehicle responsible for the accident. In those cases it is important to make a record of the carrier and immediately report the accident to the police so they can properly investigate.
These are some of the most common parties who can be held responsible for fixed object collisions.