Collisions with large wild animals cause around 40,000 accidents every year in France, according to national road safety body Sécurité routière.
If you hit a large wild animal such as a deer, a chamois or a wild boar on a French road, there are a series of actions you should take, says driving law expert, Jean-Baptiste Le Dall.
- You should begin by informing your local gendarmerie branch. An injured animal can be dangerous and the authorities may need to find and treat it.
- Within the five working days that follow the collision, you should also inform your insurer.
If an inspection of your vehicle is to take place, you can collect witness statements, photos and any hairs found on the car to prove that the accident involved a wild animal and not livestock or a pet (in which case the owner may be responsible).
Avoid washing your car before it has been looked over by the insurance company.
- Those who are on an assurance auto tous risques (‘all risks insured’ policy) will be covered for any damage caused to their vehicle.
If you are injured as a result of the collision and your insurance includes a garantie conducteur (‘driver guarantee’), you will be compensated accordingly.
If not, you will be covered by the French Guarantee Fund for Victims (FGAO) and your passengers will be covered by your assurance responsabilité civile liability insurance.
Drivers who have third-party insurance only will not be covered for damage to their vehicle in the case of an accident of this type.
If the collision is judged to have constituted a force majeure event – that was out of your control – it will not affect your no-claims bonus.
You can find out more about whether you are eligible to claim on your insurance on public information website Service-public.fr.
- For accidents that occur on roads where there is nothing to warn of the presence of large wild animals, drivers can appeal to the local highway authorities to improve the signage.
- If you hit a “big game” animal – including deer, boar, Pyrenean chamois and mouflon – and it dies as a result of the collision, you are allowed to take its carcass away with you after having informed the gendarmerie. However, you are not allowed to sell them.
Collisions with large wild animals cause around 40,000 accidents every year in France, according to national road safety body Sécurité routière. Of these, up to 50 prove to be fatal for the driver, often because they swerve to avoid the animal.