What To Do If You Hit A Deer And It Runs Away In Michigan?
The sun is nearing the horizon, and you’re on the way home when you glimpse a blur of movement out of the corner of your eye. A deer leaps into the road directly in front of your car, and you simply don’t have time to avoid a collision. Somehow, the deer survives and bounds into the woods, leaving you with a damaged car and many questions. Over 50,000 deer-strike accidents occur yearly in Michigan, but what do you do if you hit a deer and it runs away? Read on to learn how to deal with the aftermath of hitting a deer and how the Mike Morse Law Firm can help.
What To Do After Hitting a Deer With Your Car
Whether you’re reading this article while sitting comfortably on your couch or gathering your wits after you’ve hit a deer, your first step is always to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. From there, the steps you take depend a bit on the circumstances of the accident. For the most part, however, you should focus on maintaining your safety and documenting the situation for possible damage claims.
Step 1: Move Your Car Out of the Way
If the car isn’t driveable but a second person is available to help you, push the vehicle off to the side of the road. Do not attempt any heavy lifting or pushing without assistance! On the other hand, if you haven’t been seriously injured, your car is still driveable, and the deer is still on the scene, drive your vehicle out of traffic. Wait in your car, with your hazard lights on, until the police arrive on the scene. If the deer runs away instead, you can leave the scene and report the collision from a safe location.
Step 2: Contact Emergency Services
Contacting 911 immediately after an accident ensures that the proper authorities arrive quickly to help you manage the situation. Emergency responders evaluate you and your passengers for injuries, which protects your health and provides documentation for possible personal injury claims. There’s no legal requirement to report deer-strike accidents to the police, but officers can assist with documenting the circumstances of the collision.
Step 3: Collect Information About the Accident
While you await the arrival of emergency responders, take time to record details about the accident. Take pictures of the damage to your car and any external injuries you and your passengers may have experienced. Also, take photos of the roadway and any other pertinent details, such as other vehicles involved, and note information about the time of the collision. Be sure to collect insurance and contact information from any other drivers involved in the incident.
Step 4: Call Your Insurance Company
You don’t need to wait until you’ve left the scene to contact your insurance company. The sooner you submit the information about your accident, the sooner you can file a claim and potentially obtain damage payments. You’re also better able to remember crucial facts in the moment, so calling from the scene helps you report your situation more thoroughly.
Step 5: Assess Your Ability To Drive
An automobile accident can be traumatic, and striking an animal, especially one as large as a deer, can really shake your confidence. After you and the authorities have determined that your car is safe to drive away from the scene, evaluate your emotional and mental state. If you or the authorities feel you’re too shaken up to take the wheel, contact a trusted friend or family member to pick you up.
Will Insurance Cover Hitting a Deer?
Michigan no-fault insurance rules state that animal strikes are eligible for comprehensive coverage, which pays for repairs to your car, less your deductible, from hitting a deer or other animal. In addition, your no-fault coverage includes personal injury protection, which means that your medical bills, up to your policy limits, are covered in a collision with a deer.
Will Your Insurance Rates Increase?
Hitting a deer is usually considered a no-fault accident, so it impacts your insurance rates less than other auto accidents. On the other hand, swerving before or after the collision and causing damage to property or injury to other people could impact your driving record and increase your insurance premiums. Your insurer can answer specific questions about your situation.
Are You Required To Report Hitting a Deer?
Although it’s not a legal requirement, reporting a deer-car collision is a wise financial decision. Even if the deer runs away, you may have damaged your vehicle or experienced injury when you struck it. If you follow the suggested steps for gathering evidence about the accident, you’re more likely to obtain appropriate compensation from your insurance company. Since it’s unlikely that your insurance rates will increase, reporting the incident is the intelligent choice.
The only downside is that if the deer runs away, you cannot apply for a salvage permit from the Department of Natural Resources. That means you won’t be stocking up on venison to counteract the frustration of dealing with insurance claims.
What To Do If the Collision With a Deer Injures Someone
The PIP component of your no-fault insurance policy primarily covers collisions with deer that cause injury. If you’ve purchased an unlimited coverage plan, you pay more at the outset, but you’re protected when a serious incident occurs. Furthermore, PIP also covers injured passengers and other vehicles. On the other hand, if the deer-car collision is the fault of another driver, you may be able to recover your out-of-pocket expenses beyond your coverage limits by filing a lawsuit.
Injury Threshold for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Michigan
You can consider filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering if you can provide evidence that you have suffered a “serious impairment of body function.” To meet this qualification, injuries must meet the following criteria:
- The injury or its symptoms must be objectively perceivable by someone other than the injured person.
- The impairment affects a body function of great significance, consequence or value to the injury victim.
- The impairment affects the victim’s ability to lead a normal life.
You and your attorney will work together to evaluate your injury claim and determine whether pursuing a lawsuit is worth your time and energy.
Excess Medical Benefits
Additionally, if your no-fault PIP benefits are less than “unlimited” and your medical costs exceed the allowed limits, you can sue the at-fault driver for excess medical benefits. According to Michigan law, there is no monetary limit on the amount you can sue an at-fault driver for excess medical benefits, excess wage loss and pain and suffering.
The Mike Morse Injury Law Accident Attorneys Can Help
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a deer and it has run away, leaving you with property damage and injuries, contact the Mike Morse Law Firm at 855-Mike-Wins. We’ll guide you through the complexities of filing insurance claims and, if it makes sense, help you to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit. We’re “Michigan’s Largest Personal Injury Law Firm” because we have extensive experience with personal injury cases, and we’re dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights in the event of an accident.