Drivers in Maryland have a 1 in 107 chance of colliding with an animal on the road. In consideration of the fact that deer will mate from September to November, with the main breeding time occurring in October, there is a heightened risk for Deer related motor vehicle accidents. So how do we avoid or reduce the risk of deer related automobile accidents? Generally, drivers can try to steer clear of deer collisions by taking these steps:
Be extra attentive in the early morning and evening periods.
Gradually brake to avoid hitting a deer; do not swerve since this may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
Slow down if a deer crosses the road ahead of you. Deer often travel in groups and others may be nearby.
Stay alert and slow down in areas where deer crossing signs are posted. These indicate locations of frequent deer activity.
Watch the shoulder of the road. Be alert for deer standing along the shoulder as they may suddenly move into the roadway. Slow down and sound your horn to scare them away.
Always buckle up — every trip, every time.
Use your high beams to see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic.
Remain focused on the road. Scan for potential dangers, including animals.
Do not rely on products such as deer whistles. They are not proven effective.
If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear. Keep focused on the road ahead.
Notwithstanding, getting into a collision with a deer is very frightening, so there are several steps you should take if you do hit a deer on a Maryland roadway.
1. Call The Police
It is important to call the police if you are in an accident with a deer. Even if your car does not seem to have been damaged, you should call, and you must always call if there is a deer lying in the roadway obstructing traffic. You want to file a police report, so that when you call your insurance company to make a claim, there is a police report on file with all the details of the accident. If you can, take photographs at the scene and get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
2. If You Are Injured, Seek Medical Care
In some cases, a collision with a deer can be catastrophic, especially if you were traveling at a high rate of speed when the accident occurred. If you have been injured in any way, you should go to the emergency room and get checked out. Waiting for minor aches to intensify is never a good idea; the sooner you seek medical care the better.
3. Report the Claim to Your Insurance Company & Contact an Attorney
Finally, you need to report the accident to your insurer. Before calling, you should review your insurance policy and understand what coverages you have and what you don’t have. Generally, a passenger in a vehicle that struck a deer may assert a personal injury claim against the driver's insurance policy. In addition, accidents involving other (non-wild) animals such as domesticated (dogs/cats) or commercial (Cows) animals could lead to a personal injury claim by the driver and passenger(s) against the animal owners. Lastly, if you have not waived PIP, you are entitled to PIP benefits at a minimum of $2,500 to cover medical expenses and 85% of lost wages up to your PIP benefit cap. There is a 1 year statute of limitation from the accident date to file PIP and a 3 years limitation period to file a lawsuit if the claim has not been settled. For more details, discuss with an experienced personal injury attorney or contact us for a free phone consultation.