How are car accidents involving animals handled in the ACT?

Published 03 Aug 2020

If you've spent enough time driving in the Australian Capital Territories or Canberra in particular, you've likely seen plenty of animals by the side of the road. These representatives of local fauna can prove dangerous if they move suddenly into the path of your vehicle – in fact, Canberra Weekly reported that Canberra is the highest-risk part of the country for motorists striking animals.

While a motor vehicle accident is always a traumatic and frightening experience, drivers in the ACT can take some comfort from the fact that collisions involving animals are largely the same as other kinds of accidents for the purposes of reporting and making insurance claims. If one of these events occurs, there are quick ways to resolve the related issues and seek assistance with damage and injuries without having to make your way through significant red tape.

What is the risk of animal collision when driving in the ACT?

On the ACT's roads, kangaroos are the creature you have to worry about most. Due to their large size, your vehicle and its occupants could sustain heavy damage when hitting one. The ACT government warned that inattentive drivers on high-risk sections of road frequently hit animals, and that there are special risk factors to consider. For example, evening and night are the top times for collisions due to low visibility – and there is a secondary risk of highly damaging collisions caused by swerves to avoid hitting a kangaroo.

The government has declined to instal reflectors or ultrasonic deterrents near roads, noting that these have unproven effectiveness at changing animal behavior. You should be vigilant behind the wheel, especially when travelling through the extra high-risk areas marked by signs.

What do you do when filing a claim for an automobile striking an animal in the ACT?

Collisions involving an animal are similar to other crashes in the ACT. You still need to report the accident to the local police, but there is one additional step: You should call Access Canberra's wildlife hotline on 13 22 81. The operator will ask whether the animal was harmed or killed in the collision and what the exact location is.

Making an insurance claim for injuries sustained in a one-car crash with an animal is different than when two cars strike each other, as in that case there would be an assignment of fault between the drivers and the responsible party's insurance who would pay the damages. As Cars Guide pointed out, standard insurance may not pay for animal strikes – you could need a comprehensive policy to be covered for such a crash.

When you're making a claim for injuries sustained in an ACT car accident, call the experts at Gerard Malouf & Partners on 1800 004 878 or email your enquiry.