Who To Call When You Hit A Deer?
Hitting a deer with your car is usually a stressful experience and can cause damage to your vehicle, as well as injury to you or any passengers riding in your car at the time of the accident. Michigan has a considerable number of car-deer accidents each year, with nearly 50,000 reports made annually.
You may believe there is little recourse for you if this type of car accident occurs, but there are a few calls you can make that could help you recover some financial loss.
4 Calls To Make When You Hit a Deer
Directly after the accident, it is wise to remain in your vehicle if it is safe to do so. If your car is in an unsafe location but still driveable, guide it to a safe spot, such as the shoulder of the road. Turn the engine off but leave your caution lights on so other drivers can see you. Do not approach the deer if it is injured, as it may try to kick or defend itself with its antlers. You may want to take stock of the situation before you begin to make calls, such as:
- Whether you have any injuries
- The condition of any passengers
- Whether the deer ran off or died at the time of impact
Once you believe you are as safe as possible, call your local police station or 911 if you have injuries. Keep in mind that other deer might be nearby, especially around dusk, and that rutting bucks can pose a significant danger to people. Remaining in your vehicle until help arrives can protect you from further injury.
1. Police Department
Unless you or anyone else involved has serious injuries, you can contact your local police about the accident. Let them know your location and that of the injured deer. Police will likely contact animal control for assistance, so you probably do not need to make that additional call. The police may ask you some initial questions over the phone, including:
- The direction in which you were traveling
- The approximate time of the wreck
- Whether you suffered any injuries
While you wait for the police to arrive, you can continue to make calls from the safety of your vehicle. You may feel shaken or upset, but making more calls may distract you from the anxiety usually caused by this type of accident.
2. Insurance Agent
Reporting the accident to your insurance company right away can streamline the claims process and create a solid foundation for any legal action you may take in the future. Many companies now offer apps so you can begin a claim directly. When you speak to your agent, try to remain calm and remember as much as you can about how the accident occurred. You can also provide your agent pictures of the damage to your vehicle, but only if you can do so without putting yourself in danger.
Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, which means you must carry a policy that covers any medical costs you might incur. It also covers other monetary losses, such as lost wages and any damage the accident might have caused to another person’s property. For example, if you hit a deer and the impact pushes you into another lane, causing you to strike another vehicle, your no-fault insurance covers that damage. However, it does not cover the cost of damages to your own vehicle. Other insurance coverage types, such as collision and comprehensive insurance, may assist you with repairing your vehicle.
3. Potential Witnesses
In the days following the crash, you may want to obtain a copy of the police report so you can call any witnesses and discuss what they saw. You can ask a variety of questions, such as:
- Did you see any other vehicles in the area?
- Was the deer in motion?
- Did you see anything else happen that might have contributed to the accident?
Remember, a witness cannot pass judgment regarding whether anyone, yourself included, caused the accident. They can only provide factual evidence to the police or to any legal representatives involved, which your attorney may use to satisfy any proof required during a court case. Your attorney may ask anyone who witnessed the accident to appear in court on your behalf.
4. Personal Injury Attorney
You may believe that hiring an attorney for a car-deer accident has no practical value, as PIP insurance and other types of coverage will cover most of your out-of-pocket costs. However, when deer become involved in a wreck, you may become injured in several different ways, such as if you were a passenger in the vehicle or a car traveling in the opposite direction swerved to avoid hitting a deer and struck your vehicle instead. If a speeding or reckless driver hits a deer and causes you to swerve and strike a tree or telephone pole, speaking to an attorney is a wise choice, especially if the crash caused you serious injuries.
You may want to discuss punitive damages with your attorney if you believed another driver’s reckless or careless behavior caused an accident with a deer. For instance, if a driver was texting, drinking or focusing more on the passengers in the vehicle than on the road, you could have a basis for requesting punitive damages.
Liability When You Hit a Deer
Liability insurance usually covers damage costs to your car, but if other vehicles become involved in an accident involving a deer, the question of liability then turns to the circumstances of the incident. You can ask your attorney a variety of questions regarding liability that may help you build a strong personal injury case, including:
- What if someone braked to avoid a deer and I struck them from behind?
- What if the accident involved more than two vehicles?
- What if a speeding driver startled the deer into the path of my vehicle?
Your attorney can gather information, including police reports, witness accounts and insurance adjuster reports to answer these questions, as well as to gauge whether you have a viable case against anyone else involved in the accident.
Potential for a Lawsuit
If you believe another driver involved in a car-deer accident acted negligently, the burden of proof is on you as the plaintiff in any lawsuit you file. Meeting with an attorney for an initial consultation can provide you with an opportunity to lay out your potential case. Remember to bring all your relevant paperwork to the meeting, including your medical bills, proof of lost wages from your employer and any photos of the accident scene you think could help add validity to your case.
Find Legal Help Today
A car-deer accident can turn your life upside down, especially if it results in serious injuries that may affect your ability to earn wages or provide for your family in the future. At Mike Morse Injury Law Firm, you never have to worry about the cost of representation because we do not collect any fees unless we win your case for you. This can provide you with peace of mind as we build your case and represent you in court and communicate with insurance companies who want to settle instead of going to court. Contact our office today and discover how our team of attorneys can help you get your life back on track.