Hitting a deer or another animal while driving can result in serious injuries and significant damage to your car, which can be quite costly to repair and recover from. However, based on your auto insurance coverage, you may be able to file a claim to help cover these damages.
Below, our Green Bay car accident attorneys at Sigman Janssen discuss insurance claims for accidents involving wildlife, the best driving practices to avoid hitting an animal with your car and what to do if you hit one. Our firm offers a free initial consultation to review your situation and learn your rights.
Wildlife-Vehicle Accidents in Wisconsin
Accidents involving wildlife are a major concern for Wisconsin drivers. Most deer-related crashes happen during October and November when deer are most active during mating season, but there are also many accidents in the winter and spring months when young deer are seeking new home ranges.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s latest data, there are about 20,000 deer crashes each year with at least one driver hitting a deer every day. In 2019, there were 18,414 reported deer crashes that resulted in 556 people being injured and nine deaths.
What to Do If You Hit an Animal While Driving
The most important thing to do after hitting an animal is getting your car safely off the road, if possible. Staying inside your car is the safest way to avoid getting into another accident.
Refrain from approaching the injured animal or attempting to move the animal as it may still be alive and scared. The animal could be defensive and become aggressive towards you, causing further harm.
Call the police to report the accident. The responding officer will be able to help with the following:
- Investigate the scene and gather evidence
- File a police report, which can help with your insurance claim
- Contact the proper authorities to remove the animal from the roadway
- Block or divert traffic to prevent another accident
Be sure to also take pictures of the accident, your injuries and damage done to your car to help support your insurance claim. Having an experienced attorney representing your best interests and guiding you through the claim process could be beneficial as you seek the maximum amount of compensation that may be available.
Filing a Claim for Damages
These accidents often cause extensive vehicle damage from deer running in front of cars and being hit, or deer running into the side of cars. If the deer strikes the front end of your car or puts a dent in your front door or rear door, the impact can cause your car to spin around and land on the side of the road. Swerving to avoid hitting deer or another animal can also cause you to lose control of your car.
That is why you should know what your car insurance policy covers in the event of a wildlife-vehicle accident. Many standard insurance policies do not cover hitting an animal with your car.
However, if you have comprehensive coverage, you may be able to file an insurance claim for damages. This optional coverage in Wisconsin can be used to repair your car after an accident with an animal.
The average claim payment for an animal strike is between $3,000 to $4,000. As cars become safer with added technology (cameras, sensors, etc.), it is likely to get more expensive to repair them after a crash.
Avoiding Deer-Related Crashes
Deer-related crashes may not always be preventable, but there are certain precautions drivers can take to avoid hitting an animal with their car:
- Stay extra vigilant first thing in the morning and at nighttime when deer are most active.
- Slow down and watch the ditches and tree lines where deer might be present.
- Turn on your high beams if it is too dark or there are no other cars in the area.
- Do not drive while distracted – deer can dart quickly in front of your car or beside your car.
- If a deer appears, blow your horn to scare the animal away from the road.
- Do not swerve – brake firmly and try to stop as fast as you can.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
If you need help after an accident, reach out to Sigman Janssen to request a free, no-obligation legal consultation. We have many decades of experience handling insurance claims on behalf of our clients.
There is no risk in calling us to learn more about the legal options available to you and no obligation to retain our services after meeting with us. We only get paid if we help you recover compensation.
Call us anytime, 24/7 at (877) 888-5201.