If you live in Kentucky, there’s a good chance you’ve hit a deer or have at least had a close call. Kentucky ranks 4th in all states with deer accidents per year according to a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety with over 3,100 accidents and over 200 of these causing significant bodily injury.
Motorcyclist Killed, Passenger Injured in Accident with Deer
The operator and a passenger of a motorcycle hit a deer and were ejected Monday night, April 6, 2020. According to Kentucky State Police, the accident happened near mile marker 41 in the northbound lanes of I-19 near Mayfield.
The operator of the bike died at the scene after being subsequently hit by a car and a pickup truck. The passenger was transported to a local hospital.
Insurance Coverage in Wildlife Accidents
For the driver and any passengers, a wrongful death claim can be made if the victim dies. Thankfully, deaths are rare in wildlife versus car accidents, but they do happen. Naturally, the surviving family members often want to know if they will be able to receive compensation to pay for all the added expenses and lost time from work.
Kentucky’s No-Fault Option
Kentucky is a “choice no-fault” insurance state meaning that each driver can purchase personal injury protection (PIP) which pays out up to $10,000 for anyone injured in an accident regardless of fault. This will pay you and anyone else in your car for bodily injury damages, lost time from work, and other forms of compensation with no requirement that the other driver is at fault. Under PIP, coverage is available for anyone in the car or on a motorcycle if the driver hit a deer.
The passenger is covered under the driver’s PIP. If the passenger has PIP, then that can only be used to cover the passenger.
Kentucky’s Negligence System
If the driver or the passenger opted out of the no-fault system, then the traditional rules governing fault and negligence apply when you hit a deer.
When either a passenger in a car or the driver is injured after hitting a deer or other wildlife, their coverage options for their physical injuries are limited if they don’t have PIP. If the accident is the deer’s “fault” meaning it ran out in front of you, then your liability coverage doesn’t cover you because that is for accidents that are your fault.
If it’s your fault in hitting the deer, then your liability coverage would only cover the deer. Seeing as the deer isn’t a person, then there is no coverage.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage
There is a sliver of hope that your own UM/UIM might cover your injuries, but in most cases, it won’t. The bottom line is, if you make contact with the deer, then your own UM/UIM won’t cover your injuries.
UM/UIM covers the driver and any passenger when you get into an accident only if the other driver’s at-fault AND the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. It’s also used in cases where the at-fault driver flees the scene and is never caught or when the other driver’s insurance doesn’t cover all of the damages.
However, if the insured driver with UM/UIM swerves to miss a dear and then hits a pole, or an object, then UM/UIM will cover. Also, if you collided with another car before hitting the dear, or another car made you swerve and then you hit a deer, then, depending on your policy, UM/UIM might cover your injuries.
Get Help from a Professional
This can be confusing, so if you hit a deer or other wildlife and are injured, you should talk to an attorney right away. You might be able to get paid by using your PIP coverage if you didn’t opt-out, or there is some chance that your UM/UIM might cover your bodily injury. Don’t take the insurance company’s word for your coverage options, talk to a professional that will be on your side.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
Accident victims often wonder if they need an attorney, and the answer is almost always yes. The insurance company agents have years of experience and are good at their job which is to pay you as little as possible or nothing at all. You need someone just as experienced to help you level the field. Talk to someone you can trust to be on your side and get you what is yours under the law.
The attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, have that knowledge and a combined 100 years’ experience in helping clients get the results they deserve. To discuss your case, call Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC today, at (800) 937-8443 or click here to contact them online.