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Hit a Deer in North Carolina? What to Know About Car Deer Accidents

Picture this: you’re driving down a dark road at night and a deer suddenly darts out in front of you. This can be a difficult situation. It can be hard to avoid hitting the deer head on, especially at night. Hitting an animal is unfortunate but sometimes deer car accidents are inevitable.

What to Do If You Hit a Deer in North Carolina - Riddle & BrantleyA deer can cause significant harm to your vehicle and serious injury to you or passengers. If you’ve recently had a car deer accident, you may be wondering if your insurance company will cover the costs of medical bills and/or repairing your vehicle.

Did you hit a deer with your car? In this article, we’ll break down what you need to know about insurance claims for deer accidents, and other tips you can use to avoid a deer accident or handle the situation if you’ve hit a deer with your vehicle.

Full and Comprehensive Coverage for Deer Accidents

Full auto insurance coverage means you have coverage for your own car, not just the other driver’s car. Full insurance typically combines collision and comprehensive insurance. Comprehensive insurance pays out if your vehicle is damaged, plus liability coverage, which pays for any injuries or damage you cause others.

Full Insurance

Full insurance should cover your damages after a car crash caused by a deer. This includes any medical expenses for your personal injuries as well as the costs to fix your vehicle. If you have opted to include comprehensive coverage on your insurance policy, you will be covered should you hit a deer.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive insurance coverage will pay for any repairs or even a replacement of your vehicle after hitting a deer. However, in order for comprehensive coverage to apply, your vehicle must come into physical contact with the deer. Should you swerve to attempt to miss the animal and crash, your insurance claim will turn into a collision claim.

Liability Coverage for Car Deer Accidents

Liability coverage is required in North Carolina. The liability coverage in North Carolina must provide at least $30,000 bodily injury coverage for each person, $60,000 total bodily injury for all people involved in the accident and $25,000 for property damage.

However, liability coverage does not typically pay for damages from hitting a deer. It is intended to pay for damages if you cause an accident, hurt someone, or damage someone else’s property. It will not pay for any damage to your vehicle that is not triggered by an accident.

What to Do If You Hit a Deer with Your Vehicle

  • Move your vehicle to a safe space — If possible, pull your car off the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Should you absolutely need to leave your vehicle, stay out of the road and away from any oncoming traffic.
  • Call the police if you are able — Alert authorities if the deer could cause a threat to other drivers (if the deer is still in the road). If the accident causes injury or property damage you may need to fill out an official report. A report will also be helpful when filing your insurance claim.
  • Document the accident if you are able — Take any photos you can get including surroundings and roadways, vehicle damage, and injuries to passengers. If witnesses stop, be sure to get any information from them as well as contact information.
  • Do NOT approach the animal — The deer will be in distress and could use its powerful legs and sharp hooves to hurt you.
  • Do NOT assume your car is safe to drive — Wait and let a professional inspect your vehicle before driving.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible — It is important to get started on a potential insurance claim immediately after the accident.

Before a collision with a deer occurs make sure you are covered with the right kind of insurance. Damages from deer accidents are usually covered under comprehensive insurance, not collision. Contact your insurance carrier for more information.

How to Avoid a Car Deer Accident in North Carolina

  • Stay alert while driving, especially during dusk and dawn when deer are most active
  • Always drive the speed limit
  • Wear your seat belt
  • Use your high beams if there is no oncoming traffic
  • If you see a deer, remember there may be more nearby, so be cautious and slow down
  • If a deer runs in front of your car do not jerk the wheel — instead, brake firmly and turn the wheel just enough to avoid hitting the animal

Legal Options After a Deer Accident in North Carolina

Following a car accident caused by a deer, it is important to have accurate information so that you understand what legal options you have to start the recovery process. You may wish to contact an attorney for help.