The amount of deer in the state of Michigan is roughly 2,000,000. This number seems to keep increasing every year and it up from roughly 300,000 from just 10 years ago. Needless to say, this rapid increase of population as also lead to many more auto accidents involving deer. If you have lived in Michigan for any sort of time, it’s very likely that you have had a run in with this situation before. Even if you haven’t actually been involved a deer related car accident, you’ve most likely had a close encounter. You can see them feeding close to road during the day and they can dart out of nowhere at anytime. Nighttime driving is especially dangerous. The probability of an accident is even higher if you live in a rural area with farmland or spots where they congregate together. It can be extremely difficult to see them coming and you might not have the time to stop or maneuver before a collision occurs.
How Likely Am I To Hit A Deer With My Vehicle?
According to State Farm Insurance, Michigan is the 4th most likely to state to hit a deer at approximately 2% or 1/50. The only 3 states where this percentage is higher is Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia and the probably of hitting a deer in those states is much statistically different. West Virginia is the most dangerous state and the odds of hitting a deer there is 1/35. The national average of colliding with a deer is 1 in 115.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the most dangerous months to drive include April-June and October-December. You are not safe during the other months, but this is the time when they are most active. In 2021 alone, over fifty thousand deer crashes occurred in the State of Michigan. The most dangerous times of day on the road include 5am-8am as well as 5pm-10pm. That being said, there is a chance to hit a deer 24/7/365, but there are more dangerous times than others.
Why Do Deer Not Run Away From Cars? Are They Nearly Blind?
Believe it or not, deer actually have excellent eyesight. They are not a predator animal so they rely on their senses to not be prey. While there aren’t many predators to kill them in Michigan, this wasn’t always the case. They are genetically wired to be very careful and have heightened vision and hearing. So why are there so many accident if they are so hyper aware? The main reason is that they are confused and disoriented because of bright headlights. The other reason is that there are so many roads in Michigan and cars are traveling at incredibly high speeds. Animals are not used to anything moving at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour.
Deer Can Cause Substantial Vehicle Damage and Injuries
If you’ve ever been in a deer related vehicle accident, you know all too well that they can cause major damage to you car, motorcycle, SUV, or even bicycle. An adult male buck can weigh up to 300 pounds. They have large hooves, antlers, and the body weight alone can inflict damage to any vehicle. Another factor is that deer can also indirectly cause a collision with another vehicle. Many drivers brake or swerve to avoid hitting a deer and this ends up causing a vehicle accident with a surround vehicle that is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Obviously, the speed of your vehicle will have a major impact on the amount of damage to your vehicle and the injuries you may sustain. The higher the speed, the more likely substantial damage to you and your vehicle. The lower the speed, the less likely that damage and injuries are to occur. Here is a list of the most common damage to your vehicle after a deer accident:
- A radiator that is punctured
- Broken headlights
- Broken foglights
- Damage to the bumpers
- Cracked or shattered windshield
- Coolant leaks
- Body Damage
- Paint Damage
Driver and Passenger Injuries
Damage to your vehicle is all but inevitable, but the driver and passenger are also very susceptible to all kinds of injuries and even death. Deer accident cause about 60,000 injuries to people and over 400 deaths. For obvious reasons, motorcyclists are at even more risk of injury since they don’t have the protections and frames of a traditional vehicle. Some of the most common injuries in a deer related car accident include:
How Do I Mitigate The Chances of Hitting a Deer in Michigan?
The best way to avoid a deer related crash is simply defensive driving. You should what times of year deer are most active as well as what times of day they are most active. While it’s not possible to avoid driving altogether during these times, it will benefit you if you are aware of this and act accordingly. There are many signs on the side of the road which indicate you are driving in a populated area and you should slow down to increase your reaction times. If you happen to see a deer on the side of the road or even darting across the road, it’s very likely they are not alone. Proceed with caution when you see one as they typically travel together in herds.
What Should I Do After a Deer-Vehicle Collision?
The first thing you should do is to pull over to the side of the road and put on your hazard lights. Only exit your vehicle if you are sure there isn’t a danger of other vehicle striking you or your vehicle. You should never attempt to save or move the injured/dead animal. It could surprise you causing injury or you might get hit by another car while attempting to move it. You should however take photos of the accident. Here is a quick list of information that you should document:
- Take pictures and not the damage done to your vehicle
- Any injuries to your or passengers in your vehicle
- The location of the accident and how it happened
- Any road hazards in the area
- Get witness statements if you are able to do so
Do I Need To File A Police Report After Striking a Deer With My Car or Motorcycle?
Michigan law does not require to file a police report after striking a deer. Regardless of the law, we always recommend calling the police and obtaining a police report. It is usually in your best interest to get a police report for insurance purposes.
If you happen to strike a deer with your vehicle, it’s highly likely that you will incur damage to your vehicle. While the damages are usually minor, repairs to vehicles that even seem minor in nature can cost a substantial amount to repair. If the repair cost is more than your deductible, you might want to think about making an insurance claim to pay for the damages.
Most Insurance Companies Require A Police Report To File a Claim
Many insurance companies have a policy that in order to file a claim, you must have a police report of the incident. If you fail to call the police after a deer-car accident, you will not have a police report and you might lose out on the ability to file a claim for damages to your vehicle. This is why we always recommend calling the police and having a report created. Michigan is a no-fault state, which means that deer accidents can fall under your comprehensive coverage. Most comprehensive deductibles are lower than collision deductibles so it could end up saving you a considerable amount. If you are anyone in your vehicle happens to get injured, your no fault insurance can help pay for medical expenses. If there are other vehicles involved in the accident, this makes getting a police report even more paramount. If the other driver is negligent, you can file a third party claim for damages beyond just your no-fault benefits.
Call The Clark Law Office For a Free Consultation After a Car-Deer Accident
Hitting a deer with your car can be a very stressful and scary moment. It’s normal to not be thinking clearly in this type of situation. If you don’t know what to do, call our expert accident attorneys at The Clark Law Office at 517-347-6900. We offer you a free consultation to determine if you have a case. You will not pay anything up-front. You will only pay if your case is won and you receive a financial award.
It is not required by law. But YES, you should always call the police after hitting a deer. Your insurance company will most likely require a police report to file a claim for vehicle damage and the deer can pose a threat to other drivers unless removed. Yes, you should. Hitting a deer is typically covered under the comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage can help to pay to fix or replace your vehicle. Yes, car insurance providers classify hitting a deer as a car accident. An auto accident is where a vehicle collides with a person, animal, other vehicle, or an object. No, it is not technically illegal to drive off after hitting a deer. Nobody will sue you and you will not get in any criminal trouble for doing so. However, it is usually in your best interest to get a police report especially if there is vehicle damage.
Should You Call The Police After Hitting a Deer?
Should I Report Hitting a Deer To Insurance?
Does HItting a Deer Count As An Accident?
Is It Illegal To Drive Off After HItting a Deer in Michigan?
It is not required by law. But YES, you should always call the police after hitting a deer. Your insurance company will most likely require a police report to file a claim for vehicle damage and the deer can pose a threat to other drivers unless removed.
Yes, you should. Hitting a deer is typically covered under the comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage can help to pay to fix or replace your vehicle.
Yes, car insurance providers classify hitting a deer as a car accident. An auto accident is where a vehicle collides with a person, animal, other vehicle, or an object.
No, it is not technically illegal to drive off after hitting a deer. Nobody will sue you and you will not get in any criminal trouble for doing so. However, it is usually in your best interest to get a police report especially if there is vehicle damage.