Compensation for Traffic Accidents caused by Wild Animals in Italy

Italy has a substantial population of wild animals that roam free across rural areas, in particular, wild boar and roe deer. Whilst they may predominantly inhabit wooded areas they do wander into villages and on to roads and their numbers are increasing. When driving through such areas known to be heavily populated with wild animals there is always the possibility of the sudden and unexpected arrival of an animal running across the road in the path of a car giving the driver little or no time to stop. Tourists holidaying in Italy are often completely unaware to the potential for such a situation which is becoming increasingly common, over the past five years the Coldiretti, a national agricultural association, reports that Lombardy alone has experienced 400 such accidents due to wild animals.

What is even less well known is that there is the opportunity to claim damages for any injuries sustained in such an accident from the Region in which the accident happened; furthermore, you can make a claim up to two years after the accident occurred. In the areas where roaming animals are commonplace there is a responsibility due to road users owed by the owners of a road to ensure, as far as possible, that the wild animals are contained by fencing, the installation of nets, ditches and guard rails at the edges of roads and the owners must maintain the fencing etc. and repair any damage that would allow the wild animals access to the road and also for signage alerting a motorist to the possibility of roaming wild animals. In Lombardy in January of this year a group of wild boar excavated a hole under a fence by a motorway which enabled them to get on to the fast-moving road causing a three-car pile-up resulting in the death of three motorists and serious injuries to others involved. Wild boar are powerful creatures and use their snouts to root out and dig for food.

Accidents involving wild animals are so prevalent that is reported in the press this week that two motorists in Sorso, Sardinia, staged an accident using the corpse of a wild boar in an attempt to obtain compensation. However, it was discovered that the boar had been frozen and the whole accident was contrived to extract money from the Authorities.

Should a genuine accident take place frequently there is a dispute between the Region and the State as to where the liability lies and who should pay compensation to the injured parties. It is often the case that the two Authorities to engage in a lengthy legal argument with regard to who has the greater responsibility to pay, this arises particularly as there are several laws relating to this issue. Due to the complexity surrounding liability it is strongly recommended to seek the assistance of an expert lawyer with expertise and specialist legal knowledge in this area to assist you with a claim for damages as without the guidance of a lawyer with a thorough understanding and knowledge of these factors, a claim for damages may very easily stall or be lost in the conflict between the Authorities.

The lawyers in Giambrone’s Sassari office in Sardinia have extensive experience in such matters. They will be able to guide you and advise on the correct procedures regarding where to direct your claim and cut through the prevarications of the Authorities to successfully obtain the compensation you are entitled to. Giambrone has offices throughout Italy as well as offices in the UK so there is no need to travel back and forth to Italy to support a case. Also, our lawyers are multi-lingual so you can discuss your case in your own language.

If you would like to know more about claiming compensation for an accident caused by a wild animal in Italy please click here.