What to do if you hit a deer in NYS

by Adam Rosenblum on May 29, 2013

invisibleIt’s probably one of the most frightening experiences behind the wheel and it happens more often than we think.  You are driving your vehicle in the middle of the night, following all the rules of the road with not many cars around you when all of a sudden a deer darts in front of your vehicle.  Every year deer collisions take the lives of thousands and cause serious injuries to motorists and can cause significant damage to a car.

In 2012, there were over 80,000 motorists that hit a deer on a New York roadway.  The only other states to have more collisions with deer are Michigan with close to 100,000 and Pennsylvania with more than 115,000.  The numbers could be much more as many car accidents that involve deer go unreported. 

What Steps Should I Take After A Collision With A Deer In New York?

After your collision it is important to make your way to the side of the road with your hazard lights on.  Make sure that you and everyone else in the vehicle are okay and have not sustained any injuries.  If the animal is in front of your vehicle try to put the headlights on and stay in the car.  Sometimes the deer can still get up and kick or get aggressive after an accident.

If it is safe to exit your vehicle try to light road flares or set up triangles to warn oncoming vehicles about the situation on the road.  Call 911 and let them know what happened.  You should wait for a police officer to make a report of the incident.   New York law requires that in order to process an insurance claim due to a collision with an animal an officer needs to make a report of the incident immediately after it has happened.

If you are in a single-car accident involving a deer, the only likely issue to contend with is an insurance claim for damage to your vehicle. However, deer collisions can involve other cars that may have hit your car once you hit the deer.  There may be grounds for you to sue if you have been injured by a rear-end collision that resulted from contact with a deer.  Our firm once represented an individual who was thrown off his motorcycle after colliding with a deer and then his body was run over by drivers of two cars who we sued for damages.

How Can I Avoid A Collision With A Deer?

There are several steps a driver can take to help avoid a collision with a deer.  First always look for signs that are posted which warn drivers of areas that have a higher population of deer.  The best thing to do is drive at a safe speed and always wear your safety belt.  Although deer can jump out at any time while you are on the road, your chances of avoiding a collision are much better when you are driving slow enough to spot the animal ahead of time.  Traveling at a higher speed does not give you enough time to avoid a collision and the impact can be more severe the faster you drive.  In addition drivers that are speeding and spot a deer tend to swerve their vehicle suddenly which can result in a car flipping over, hitting other vehicles or driving off the road.

A good practice that is taught in any defensive driving course is to be able to stop within the distance of your headlights.   If you see a deer in front of your vehicle it is better to apply your brake firmly than to swerve to avoid a collision.  Whenever you are in a heavily forested area it is a good practice to scan the sides of the road.  If there are no other vehicles on immediately in front of you, use your high beams to illuminate more areas so you can see the road more clearly.

If you are involved in a deer-vehicle collision that involves another party, you should contact The Rosenblum Law Firm for a free consultation about the accident and to determine whether you may entitled to compensation for your injuries.

3 thoughts on “What to do if you hit a deer in NYS

  1. A good practice that is taught in any defensive driving course is to be able to stop within the distance of your headlights. If you see a deer in front of your vehicle it is better to apply your brake firmly than to swerve to avoid a collision. Whenever you are in a heavily forested area it is a good practice to scan the sides of the road. If there are no other vehicles on immediately in front of you, use your high beams to illuminate more areas so you can see the road more clearly.

    Adam on

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