What To Do If You Hit A Deer?
Government institutions estimate that there are more than two million deer in the state of Michigan. As they are most active in fall and spring, it is common for vehicles to come into contact with them in the form of a car accident. According to Michigan State Police, there are almost 50,000 accidents reported each year involving deer. Most of those accidents occur between dusk and dawn on two-lane roads.
Accidents get serious when a driver swerves to avoid a deer in the road. When this happens and the car hits another fixed object or vehicle, it is likely to roll over. While careful driving can sometimes protect drivers from these accidents, there are times when they are unavoidable. When that happens, it is important that the driver knows who to call to cover vehicle damage and any medical bills caused by the accident.
What Should You Do After You Hit a Deer?
If an accident is unavoidable and your vehicle strikes the animal, it is most important that you obtain medical attention for anyone who needs it. Call emergency services and assess any injuries. Once you know everyone is okay, you should move your car. Turn on your emergency lights, keep your seatbelt on and move to the shoulder of the road.
If the vehicle is not driveable, carefully step outside of it and leave it there. Stand out of the way of oncoming traffic on the side of the road. Motorcyclists should remove bikes from the road and get to a safe space away from oncoming traffic.
Once everyone is safe and injuries treated, call the police to report the following information:
- The accident’s location
- Injuries to anyone involved
- Information about additional vehicles in the area
- Your assessment of whether the deer is dead or alive and if it is blocking traffic
Never approach the deer. Frightened, wounded animals are often disoriented and may react unexpectedly or violently. Once help arrives, take your own documentation of the damage, the incident and any injuries that occurred. Try to take pictures when possible.
If you are unsure that your vehicle is okay to drive, leave it where it is. Look closely for damage and call a tow truck when necessary. File a report with your insurance company and make sure you include the police report number.
What Costs Could You Incur?
When it comes to hitting a deer, there is no other party to take blame or assign fault. When serious injuries occur or there is significant property damage, who pays the bills, especially when it was not your fault?
This is where a personal injury attorney can help. Your insurance company may offer a settlement value that seems reasonable, but you may deserve more. The settlement amount may not cover all your costs. After hitting a deer, you will have expenses in several areas, and they all combine to be a lot more than you prepared for. Some of these costs include:
- Rental vehicles
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Disability costs
- Lost wages
- Police citations
Once the dust has settled and it is time to settle the accident financially with your insurance company, how do you know that you are getting a fair deal? A personal injury attorney knows the law, knows what your accident is worth and knows how to negotiate with the insurance company to get what you deserve.
Why Should You Call a Personal Injury Attorney After You Hit a Deer?
Because there is not another negligent party, some people do not realize that an accident with a deer could be a personal injury claim. Before accepting any offer from an insurance company, a personal injury attorney can do a long list of things to make sure that you get the maximum compensation for your accident.
Explains Your Rights
Personal injury attorneys know the law, and they know when a claim is valid. Many people do not know their rights when it comes to their insurance policy, and they may end up paying out of pocket for expenses incurred after hitting a deer. A qualified attorney can help explain what you deserve and knows the best way to go about getting it.
Answers Questions and Gives Advice
Throughout the process of settling the claim and the accident, you may have questions about things like what doctor to see, when you will get your money or how to file a claim. Rather than going through this process on your own, a personal injury attorney helps you along the way as they give advice and answer questions when you need it. This not only helps streamline the process, it also provides valuable peace of mind when you are already dealing with extreme emotional, physical and financial stress.
Represents You In Court
Most personal injury cases settle before they go to court, but in some cases, the attorney may feel that you have a viable claim for a jury trial. If this is the case, a personal injury attorney collects evidence, organizes documentation and represents you in court. With experience in the courtroom, they know how the legal system works and how to best explain your situation to a sympathetic jury.
Litigating a case is complex and there are many rules and procedures to follow. Rather than going through that on your own, your attorney already has the information and knows how to keep it simple.
Talks to Medical Providers
In certain situations, your attorney may speak to your medical providers to learn more about your injuries and make sure you get the medical treatment you deserve. If money is tight and you have concerns about the amount the insurance company is offering, you may forgo things like physical therapy that have long-term effects on injuries. When an attorney talks to your doctor, they make sure you are getting the absolute best treatment and they know exactly what you will pay for it.
Some injuries from hitting a deer may not show up right away, and some have long-term effects. Even if you receive an exam immediately after the accident and get a clean bill of health, once the adrenaline wears off your body may have new problems. An attorney will discuss these possibilities with your doctor and determine how much compensation is fair for the injuries you may deal with down the road.
Completes a Professional Investigation
If you hit a deer, you probably do not have the resources to conduct a professional investigation to determine the exact costs of the accident. Personal injury attorneys have the resources and the ability to recreate the scene and the accident to present to your insurance company. Many hire specialists or experts in certain fields to help prove their case when necessary.
Mediates a Settlement
If your insurance company offers you a settlement that does not match your costs, your attorney can mediate between you and the company. They discuss your costs, present the evidence of the accident and show why you may need more money than they are offering.
When Should You Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?
Once you have received medical attention for any serious injuries after hitting a deer, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. They will start the process of collecting documentation and evidence to leave no details uncovered if they can help your case. Contact us today if you have hit a deer and are not sure about paying the bills.