Animals on the road – who is responsible in the event of an accident (the back of the car) caused by an animal?

In principle, each road user is responsible for maintaining a sufficient distance from the front. From this it follows the duty of the man behind to keep a sufficient distance for the man in front of him. The minimum safety distance is maintained when the distance to the vehicle in front of you corresponds to the value of half the speedometer in metres.

Animals as a compelling reason for severe braking – a question of size?

On the other hand, heavy braking without a compelling reason constitutes a traffic offense according to Clause 4 Clause 1 S. 2 StVO.

However, how should a driver driving in front of him behave when an animal runs on the road?

According to previous case law, the driver must always balance interests relating to the life or health of the animal and the prevention of rear-end collision.

It follows that young animals should be run over because of their low material value. However, this balance of interests is no longer up to date, because the entry of Section 90a of the German Civil Code states that animals are not beings. Section 251, paragraph 2, sentence 2 of the German Civil Code also expresses the fact that the value of an animal is also irrelevant when it comes to the costs of medical treatment.

It is definitely necessary to distinguish vertebrates according to the TierschG or another animal. Vertebrates can feel severe pain and tightness.

In its judgment of 10 July 2018 on AZ: 425 C 2383/18, AG Dortmund determined that a rear-end collision occurred in which the person in front braked due to a pigeon for which the rear driver alone had to pay. ruin. Braking for a pigeon does not constitute a violation of Article 4, paragraph 1, sentence 2 of the Road Traffic Regulations. Killing a vertebrate is rather an administrative offense under Sections 4, Clause 1, 18, Clause 1, No. 5 of the Animal Welfare Act. In addition, Article 20a GG must be taken into account, according to which the protection of animals is part of the scope of responsibility of the state power.

In its judgment of February 25, 2014 in Az. 331 C 16026/13, the Munich District Court gave the driver of the car in front of him, who braked due to a squirrel, a joint liability of 25 per cent somewhat – called operating risk, because it was not mandatory to brake as it would have been.

According to case law, there is a compelling reason to brake forcefully if the person using the brakes or other persons are endangered or injured. With an increase in the size of the animal, the presumed danger is greater and the corresponding severe braking is justified without fear of a traffic violation according to § 4 Abs. 1 S. 2 StVO.

Comprehensive insurance commitment

Without the involvement of a third party, vehicle or comprehensive insurance generally covers damage to your own vehicle in the event of an evasive maneuver.

According to Article 83 Paragraph 1, Sentence 1 of the Insurance Contract Act (VVG), the insurance company must reimburse the policyholder for expenses that the policyholder may consider necessary to avoid and mitigate damage. Expense concept means voluntary sacrifices of wealth. Jurisdictions and literature differentiate on the basis of animal size whether restraining due to an animal constitutes an expense according to Section 83(1) Sentence 1 VVG. If the driver brakes for a large animal, this is a necessary expense within the meaning of the legal regulation. This comes from the assumption that larger animals may cause more damage to the insured vehicle. Whereas an accident to a small animal will only reduce the damage.

However, if the driver brakes due to the impulse to save the animal’s life, the insurance company is not obligated to pay compensation. Animal life is not insured under comprehensive vehicle insurance. Whether the insurance pays for damages incurred depends on whether the policyholder should consider applying the necessary brakes to prevent an insured event in the form of damage to the insured vehicle or to minimize any damage.

Obligation to partially comprehensive insurance in case of accidents involving wildlife

In the event of accidents with wildlife, current partial comprehensive insurance usually covers damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident with wildlife in the event of a collision with wildlife. On the other hand, damage from a risky evasive maneuver will only be covered if there is evidence that a dangerous impact must be prevented.

Responsibility of the animal owner

If the owner of an animal can be identified and it can be shown that the animal has not been subject to adequate supervision, the so-called liability of the animal owner will be triggered according to Section 833 BGB. All that is required is that the animal is a contributing cause, but not a direct collision with the animal.

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