Collisions with wildlife on roads in rural Victoria are a huge safety concern for road users; and kangaroos and wallabies are the cause of most of these accidents. The combination of the high speed and the impact from hitting a large animal can cause catastrophic injuries or even death for road users.
Rope bridges, animal underpasses and wildlife corridors all play important roles in minimising the threat of animals crossing major roads. However, there are also some steps you can take to reduce the risk of a car accident with wildlife including:
- reduce your speed when driving at dawn and dusk as kangaroos are most active during this time
- if you see one kangaroo cross the road, reduce your speed as it is likely that more kangaroos will soon follow
- keep a lookout for wildlife crossing signs and adjust your driving accordingly
- be aware that kangaroos can be blinded by car lights and not move from the road.
What should you do in an accident with wildlife?
If you were not injured in the road accident, you should pull over safely and put your hazard lights on. If the animal is causing a hazard to other drivers you should remove the animal if it is safe to do so or call Wildlife Victoria on (03) 8400 7300 if the animal is injured.
If you were injured in the accident, you should call the ambulance and police.
How do I make a TAC claim?
In the unfortunate event that you or a family member is injured in a traffic accident with wildlife, be mindful that:
- if you have been injured in a road collision with wildlife on a private road, you are only entitled to make a TAC claim if your vehicle is registered
- if you have been injured in a collision with wildlife on a public road, you are entitled to make a TAC claim. It does not matter how the accident occurred and whether you were at fault.
You must report the accident to the police before making a TAC claim.
You should then lodge a claim with the TAC by calling 1300 654 329. The TAC will send out a completed form which you must carefully check and sign.
It is vital that you list all of your injuries; even those that appear minor at the time. You must return the signed claim form to the TAC for the claim to be accepted.
You only have 12 months from the date of the accident to lodge a TAC claim. Extensions up to three years can be granted in special circumstances.
If your TAC claim is accepted, you may be entitled to:
- reasonable medical expenses
- loss of income benefits
- a monetary payment for a permanent injury
- the right to sue for lump sum compensation.
If you or someone you know was injured in an accident with wildlife, you can call our Adviceline on (03) 9321 9988 and speak directly with a lawyer about your TAC entitlements.