Beware of Deer on California Roads: Ways to Stay Safe as The Days Are Getting Shorter

As the days grow shorter and darkness descends rather early, the risk of encountering deer on California’s roads increases. These graceful but unpredictable creatures can pose a significant hazard to drivers, and collisions with them can lead to costly damage, injuries, or worse. If you believe there could be specific circumstances in your deer accident that warrant legal action, you should consult with a qualified personal injury attorney.

Tips to Avoid Hitting Deer on California Roads

To ensure your safety and the well-being of these animals, it is vital to be aware of the dangers they present and adopt precautionary measures when you are behind the wheel. These are a few helpful tips for staying safe on the road and minimizing the chances of wildlife-related accidents:

  • Stay Vigilant, Especially at Dawn and Dusk: Deer are most active during dawn and dusk. These low-light conditions can make it harder to spot them. You may want to stay extra vigilant during these times when visibility is reduced.
  • Reduce Speed in Deer Zones: Be mindful of signs indicating areas known for high deer populations. You should reduce your speed when passing through these zones. This will provide you with more reaction time in case a deer suddenly crosses your path.
  • Use High Beams When Possible: When driving on dimly lit roads, use your high beams to improve visibility. Based on this, remember to dim them when approaching other vehicles to avoid blinding other drivers.
  • Stay in Your Lane: If you spot a deer on or near the road, do not swerve or change lanes abruptly. It’s safer to brake and stay in your lane. Swerving can result in loss of control and potentially lead to a more severe accident.
  • Honk Your Horn: If you see a deer on the road, honk your horn to alert the animal and encourage it to move away. While this doesn’t always work, it is a simple precautionary measure to take.
  • Wear Your Seatbelt: In the unfortunate event of a collision with a deer, your seatbelt is your best protection. Ensure that all occupants in your vehicle are wearing their seatbelts.
  • Stay Calm After a Collision: If you do hit a deer, pull over safely and assess the situation. Contact the local authorities if necessary and, if your vehicle is damaged, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic.
  • Do Not Approach Injured Deer: If the deer is injured but alive, do not approach it. Injured animals can be unpredictable and may lash out in fear or pain. Contact local wildlife authorities or animal control for assistance.
  • Deer Crossings Are Real: You should pay attention to road signs indicating deer crossings. These signs are placed in areas where deer are known to frequently cross the road. Don’t forget to exercise extra caution when you encounter these signs.
  • Report Roadkill: If you come across a deer carcass on the road, report it to local authorities. Prompt removal of roadkill helps reduce the attraction of scavengers and the risk of further accidents.
  • Learn Local Regulations: You may want to familiarize yourself with local regulations regarding wildlife and road safety. Many areas may have specific rules or programs in place to address deer-related issues.

You should review your insurance policy to know the coverage for deer-related accidents and injuries. Collision coverage may help repair your vehicle, but comprehensive coverage is usually necessary for animal-related damage. If your insurance company denies coverage, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney to help recover compensation. 

Can You Sue for a Car Accident Involving Wild Animals in California?

Since deer are wild animals and their actions are unpredictable, there is generally no one to hold liable for the accident. In such cases, the responsibility for the accident and related injuries typically falls under the category of “acts of nature.” 

With that said, you can still get compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses: Your medical expenses would typically be covered by your own health insurance. If you have personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage as part of your auto insurance, that can also provide some coverage for medical costs related to the accident.
  • Property Damage: For damage to your vehicle, comprehensive coverage should address the repair or replacement costs. Pertaining to this, you may need to pay a deductible as outlined in your insurance policy.

It’s vital that you report the accident to your insurance company promptly. They can guide you through the claims process and determine the coverage available to you. 

If your insurance company is disputing your claim or offering insufficient compensation, a personal injury attorney can negotiate on your behalf. They have experience dealing with insurance companies and can advocate for your rights to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

In rare cases, you may be able to pursue legal action if another party’s negligence contributed to the accident. For instance, if a government agency failed to maintain road signs or barriers in areas known for high wildlife activity, or if a property owner failed to address known wildlife hazards on their premises, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. 

These cases require thorough investigation and legal knowledge to determine liability and secure compensation for injuries and damages.

Choose a Dedicated Car Accident Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

At Garmo & Garmo, LLP, our experienced car accident attorneys are committed to helping accident victims understand their rights and pursue compensation when they have been injured. Our lawyers can provide aggressive legal representation to ensure the insurance company makes a fair settlement with you. Reach out to us for a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Call us at 619-441-2500 today or contact us online