The deer population in South Carolina is estimated at around 730,000, and deer collisions account for a high number of auto accidents in the state — over 3,000 in 2019. So what are you supposed to do if you hit a deer? Do you have to report a deer hit in South Carolina, and what do deer collisions look like?
These are the steps you should take if you’re involved in a deer accident.
Step 1. Move Your Vehicle
After you hit a deer, if possible, move your vehicle to a safe space. Pull off to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Deer are most active during dusk and dawn when visibility is limited. You’re more likely to hit a deer during this time. If you need to leave your vehicle, or can’t move it, make sure you’re visible to other drivers. They may not be able to see deer, so they may not be able to see you either.
Step 2. Call the Police
If you hit a deer and the animal is blocking traffic or creating a threat for other drivers, call the police immediately. If the accident caused damage or injury, you may need to fill out a report. This can be useful if you need to file an insurance claim to get compensation for your property damage or injuries.
Step 3. Avoid Approaching the Downed Animal
While it may be tempting to check on the deer to see if it’s OK, avoid approaching the animal until the police arrive, and even then keep back. A frightened, wounded deer may buck and kick, potentially harming you if you get too close.
So keep as far away from the injured deer as possible, and the authorities will later deal with it. Your priority should be to keep yourself and those around you safe and help ensure that nothing worse happens.
Step 4. Inspect Your Vehicle after a Deer Collision
Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive, even if it doesn’t show any signs of damage after a deer accident. Make sure to inspect your vehicle after the collision.
Check for leaking fluid, tire damage, broken lights, a damaged hood latch, or other safety hazards that could impact your driving and cause further damage to you or your vehicle. If your vehicle shows clear signs of damage, call for a tow. See if your insurance company will cover the costs of towing, which can be high.
Step 5. Contact Your Insurance Company ASAP
The sooner you report your damages to your insurance company, the sooner they can process your claim so you can get help. So don’t delay in letting them know what happened, and then you’ll be in a better position to fix the issues caused by your deer accident.
Taking these five essential steps if you’re unfortunately involved in a deer collision will help to protect you, your loved ones, and your property.
If you’re struggling to get compensation from your insurance company, contact the auto accident experts at The Clardy Law Firm for help.