Every year in the United States, there are over 1 million accidents involving a deer which result in billions of dollars of insurance payouts. Most of the insurance claims are for property damage resulting from a collision with a deer. But what happens where there is a serious injury or death?
Injuries to passengers
If you were a passenger in a vehicle, you were likely riding along in a friend or acquaintances vehicle. You also probably had no control whatsoever in how that driver reacted when they saw a deer. Some people swerve to avoid hitting a deer and crash into a tree. Some people hit a deer while speeding. Some people fail to slow down when deer are crossing the street. Other drivers were distracted and not paying attention to the road. Any of these actions could result in a severe injury to a passenger. If a driver ignores the deer, drives recklessly or fails to avoid the deer by taking evasive action, the driver may be held responsible for any injuries to their passenger or passengers.
Of course, nobody wants to file a claim against their friend but if you were injured while riding with someone you know, contact us. There is a reason they have insurance and their rates will likely be going up with or without your injury claim. We want you to get better and your friends do, too. If you have questions about this, contact us for a free, confidential consultation.
Accidents with other vehicles
Most experts agree that when you see a deer you should slow down as quickly as possible if nobody is behind you, and stay in your lane. Deer travel in packs and if you see one there are more nearby. Also, during “the rut”, if you see a female deer running across the road there’s a good chance a buck is just moments behind her. Unfortunately, some drivers swerve to avoid hitting a deer or even drive into oncoming traffic. Instead of a fender bender with a deer, they have now caused a head on collision due to their overreaction. In other cases, drivers slow down to avoid hitting a deer in a responsible manner but the driver behind them is looking down at their latest Instagram Story or texting a friend and then slams into the back of your car. These negligent actions often result in serious injuries and injury claims.
Expect to be denied
Contact an experienced personal injury law firm prior to speaking with the negligent party’s insurer. As soon as they hear a deer was involved they are going to attempt to deny your claim and blame the deer. Deer have no insurance and you can’t file a claim against them. This happens even when they know their driver is responsible or partially responsible. In other cases they may even try to blame you for your injuries.
When are deer most active?
Deer are the most visible in Kentucky in October, November, and December. Around Lexington and Louisvlle, The Rut generally starts around November. This is when the does are ready to breed and the bucks are chasing them all around. Bucks seem to come out of the woodwork and are even spotted in downtown Louisville. They aren’t thinking clearly and can often be seen fighting each other for territory or sprinting across highways or standing around sniffing the air. Whitetail Deer are very active at night, so the most accidents occur at dusk and at dawn.
About 1% of Kentuckians will hit a deer every year. The little whistles often aren’t very effective. Deer even run out in front of motorcycles. One motorcyclist we spoke to from Evansville Indiana recently said the deer was standing on the side of the road, staring at him. He let off the throttle and maintained a straight line, hoping the deer would not dart in front of him. Just when he got to the deer, it darted out in front of him. Thankfully in this case, the motorcycle’s front fender hit the deer’s rear hoof and both the motorcyclist and the deer survived.
To reduce the likelihood of being in a accident with a deer:
- Don’t speed. You will have a significantly better chance of avoiding hitting a deer if you’re going the speed limit in deer territory.
- If you see one, expect more. As mentioned above, deer travel in packs. If you see a fawn, mom is nearby.
- Don’t swerve. Avoid swerving off of the road or into oncoming traffic by staying in your lane. Hitting a deer often results in only property damage and cars can be fixed.
- If you see a deer standing in the road, don’t expect it to move. Have you ever heard of a “deer stuck in the headlights”? Deer have eyes optimized for low light. When a headlight glares into their fully dilated eye they are blinded and often “freeze” until their eyes have adjusted – this takes a while!
- Deer are not good at detecting motion. They have an amazing sense of smell but often do not realize a vehicle is headed in their direction until you are very close to them. When they do see you they make a split second decision and may dart in front of you.
Contact a lawyer after any injury
A negligent driver who hit a deer and caused your injury can be held liable for those injuries just like a driver who hit another vehicle. After any major injury, contact us for a free and confidential consultation. Insurance companies hire lawyers who work to get your injury claims reduced or denied. You deserve to have a skilled and experienced attorney on your side, too. The legal team at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC has over 90 years of combined experience successfully representing injured clients in Kentucky and Indiana. Call (502) 458-5555 or (800) 937-8443 today for a free consultation with an actual attorney.