Is it Illegal to Hit a Deer and Drive Off?
Updated: Feb 24
Experts say rural areas in Iowa are a high-risk state for deer accidents. Studies found that Iowa ranked 5th in the U.S. from 2018 to 2019 alone. Motorists had a 1 in 55 chance of being involved in deer accidents and other animal-related collisions. Reports indicate there were around 1.9 animal collision insurance claims throughout the country in the same year. Experts also revealed that the auto deer collisions caused approximately 211 fatalities in 2017 alone.
But have you ever wondered if hitting a deer and driving off is illegal in Iowa? Like in most states, it is not illegal. It is not ideal to just drive off after hitting the animal. What are you going to do then? Are you the one to blame? What about the damages one deer caused to your vehicle? These are all excellent questions, and you have come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn about them all. Without further ado, let’s dive into it!
What to Do When You Hit a Deer
In most states, the fall and spring are the best time when deer are on the move to mate, feed, and migrate to places with enough natural resources. So, do not be surprised when they are on the road during any of these seasons. But when you hit this animal near a state farm, you will surely be terrified and shocked as it is not something you’d expect. We are only human, after all. What should you do when you are in this situation? Some might drive off. But that is a no-no. Here are the things you should do:
Move Your Vehicle Off the Road
In the event of deer collisions, you have to think ahead. Since you are on the road, another fast-moving car may come your way. Therefore, move your vehicle off the road no matter what. If it isn’t possible to pull your car over so it can be repaired, do it as soon as possible. Before anything else, make a warning sign for other motorists to recognize and know. This is the reason you have to bring some of your tools wherever you go. Once you fix everything, park your vehicle in a safe area. Suppose the damages are beyond your experience and knowledge. In that case, all you have to do is give a tow truck service or a reliable auto club a call for your peace of mind.
Report the Incident
Once you pull over, report that you hit a deer to the law enforcement agency and your insurance company at the same time. Remember that you are not legally obligated to file a police report. But below are some reasons why you should consider making an official report:
---The state police will guide you from start to finish. Hitting a deer may seem less stressful. Sad to say, when you are in the actual situation, you will feel petrified.
Don’t worry! You are not alone. The state patrol is always ready to help. You can contact the nearest police department during this kind of emergency.
---The law enforcement officers may help with your claim. Applying for insurance is confusing. Sometimes, even if you have filed for a claim, that does not mean the insurance company will approve your application.
---The police may help increase your chances. Be sure you submit all necessary documents, including the official report from the police, and show that you weren't driving without a driver's license.
---The proper authorities will handle the injured deer. If deer hunting is one of your hobbies, you can salvage the deer carcasses, of course. But it should have a deer tag to avoid violations under the state law. The law enforcement agencies will help you obtain that, so there is nothing to be afraid of.
If the deer has less serious injuries and you have someone to meet in the office, the police will handle the situation.
Evaluate the Damage to Your Vehicle
While waiting for law enforcement authorities to arrive, start gathering the necessary details. Do not stay in the car and wait for the rescuers to arrive. It is wise to get out of the vehicle and take pictures of the aftermath, like broken lights, tire damage, loose parts. Do not leave out anything important. Document everything to support your claim.
If someone is badly injured and may require immediate medical attention, it is essential to contact the nearest ambulance. Once the authorities arrive and make a police report, do not be afraid to ask for a copy to compare the data you have at hand. They will change the report for accuracy and consistency. But any inaccurate report is not typical as law enforcement is well-trained and does not take any shortcuts.
Stay Away from the Animal
It is human nature for us to check a person or an animal after a collision. If you hit a deer, do not go near the animal. A wounded deer might use its hooves and legs to cause a bodily injury, including lacerations, cuts, burns, abrasions, and burns. Who wants to experience another serious injury? No driver likes that. So, even if you are concerned and curious, never go to the deer right away. Wait for the right people to do their job.
Do Not Drive Your Car Right Away
Driving your car after hitting a deer is a common mistake people in Iowa and other states make. Although you fix the wheel, that does not mean everything will be all right, and you can go on to your destination as if nothing happens. A large deer can be destructive. There may be damages that our naked eyes cannot see. The best thing to do here is to contact a towing service. While it may require an additional cost, your convenience is what matters the most. You do not know the safety hazards of a malfunctioning car. It may lead to another head-on collision, which you do not want to happen.
Are You the One to Blame When You Hit a Deer?
Deer are very quick and unpredictable. They can move or run into the road quickly and may be impossible to avoid. So, who is the one to blame when you hit a deer? Fortunately, there is no one. A car insurance carrier does not consider the incident the driver’s fault. Hitting a deer is an unavoidable accident, some may say. Who will pay for the damage to your car, however? Since there are no other third parties involved in the accident, you are the one who will shoulder the cost. If you do not have enough cash on hand, that would be a terrible and inconvenient experience. This is where having an insurance premium can play a significant role.
Although it might not be necessary to look for a reputable insurance company at the moment, you do not know when you will hit a deer and other large animals. A deer collision is something you cannot expect and predict to happen, indeed. What’s the best option to think about and consider? Comprehensive and collision policies are the most common choices you should consider. Which is better between the two? As the name implies, a purchased comprehensive coverage includes animal collisions and other situations. But it depends on the provider you choose.
Collision insurance, on the other hand, is different. It specifically covers the cost that the accident has caused. Proper damage is included in the coverage. Property damage can cost a considerable fortune. So, an updated premium can make a big difference. It can help you save some cash and avoid loans over time.
How to Avoid Hitting a Deer with Whatever Vehicle You Use and Drive
Deer are predictable, so the risks of hitting them on the road are high. But there are ways you can avoid an auto deer collision. Below are some tips and tricks you can follow and keep in mind:
Many distractions can occur while driving. Perhaps, a family member, a colleague, or a close friend texts you. Maybe, you lost your keys under the car seat. Although you are tempted to check your phone or get the keys below the seat, stay alert. Focus on driving. You can reply to your parents and colleagues when you are no longer on the road.
Scan the Road
While driving, do not forget to examine the road. Look for any herd ahead. When you see some a few meters away, you can prepare at least. If you go for a ride, do not do anything. You have to stay attentive. If you are tired or sleepy, do not force yourself to drive. Ask a friend or a colleague instead for everyone’s safety.
The risk of getting an injury is higher than wearing a seatbelt, experts say. Imagine you hit this animal or other animals without a seatbelt. The injuries can be severe and you may even have a personal injury claim. If you are not lucky, your head, spine, chest, neck, and abdomen can be significantly injured. It can also cause skeletal injuries, internal bleeding, broken ribs, and other fractures. Even if you run out of time going to your office, home, or mall, never forget to put your seatbelt on. To file a car accident claim, contact a personal injury lawyer near you. Being forgetful does not apply to state law. When proven that you did not wear a seatbelt, expect costly fines in Iowa.
Utilize High Beams
Low visibility at night can be terrifying even for the most certified and experienced drivers. You may crash into a building, resulting in extensive and expensive property damage. You may also hit animals and passersby. But high beams can be a lifesaver. Usually, this headlight can illuminate the road up to 350 feet (0.11 kilometers) ahead. This is too much, which can put other’s lives in danger. That’s why all states implement laws requiring drivers to dim and not use high beam headlights within 500 feet (0.15 kilometers) away from an approaching automobile. High beam headlights are perfect for urban areas with low visibility, country roads with few hazard lights, and interstate highways.
Pay Attention to Deer Crossing Signs
The countryside is where deer gather. When visiting your parents in a rural area, be wary and drive carefully to enjoy an injury-free escapade. A deer may appear from nowhere. But do not feel at ease when you travel to somewhere urbanized as it may also be home to deer.
How to Hit a Deer Without Too Much Damage
Who likes to kill an animal on the road? No driver would love that. Sometimes, things may happen beyond your control. A deer running in front of your car may be a shocking experience. When a crash is about to happen, what is the proper way to hit the creature without too much damage while keeping yourself and other passengers safe? Read on for more information!
Changing the direction of a vehicle is what most drivers may recommend. But do not do that. An accident or collision occurs by swerving, according to experts. You may hit other vehicles and property, leading to more casualties. The life of a deer is not worth saving if people’s lives could be at risk.
Step on the Brakes
Since you cannot swerve, what would you do then? Hold onto the wheel and step on the brakes as hard as you can. Try everything you can to stop your vehicle. Unlike swerving, braking is the safest method to hit a deer with no life-threatening damages. Slamming on the brakes too hard can cause cracks or tears, especially in the hoses. When left unchecked and unrepaired, this can lead to fluid leaks. So, it is recommended to have your car checked after the incident. If something changed after the collision, do not assume your car is all right. Let a specialist conduct a thorough and careful inspection for general information purposes.
Speeding Up is Not a Good Idea
Speeding up is another mistake you should avoid. When you see a herd of deer a few meters away from the road, never speed up, even if you are a few minutes or hours late from the office or school. That’s all right. It is better to drive slowly. According to the World Health Organization, speed contributes to oncoming traffic, a road crash, blocking traffic, an accident, and injuries. Even if you’re supposed to be hosting a seminar, meeting a business partner, or attending a special gathering, your safety should be your number one priority. Also, think of other people.
What to Do When Your Insurance Claim is Denied?
You hit a deer near a state farm. Your tire wheel is torn. Your windshield is cracked. Then, you file an insurance claim. After a few days and weeks, you realize your application was denied. Of course, it is frustrating, especially when you submit every available requirement. If you think your rights are violated and you're treated unjustly, do not stay silent. Open up and seek legal advice from a lawyer with in-depth and related experience. With various legal specialists to choose from in Iowa, it is difficult to find a lawyer that best suits your unique requirements.
Aside from experience, direct your attention to a legal counsel with a reputation of providing the highest quality service possible. You may also think about the rate. While it is enticing to opt for the cheapest solution, always be willing to spend more. If you are on a budget, some firms offer excellent legal advice at a price you can afford. Once you find one, request for a free consultation and exert effort to maintain your attorney-client relationship.
Why Should You Purchase a Comprehensive Insurance?
You are probably hesitant about whether to purchase this coverage. Below, we present some reasons why you should have this kind of coverage.
---It covers damages caused by natural disasters, falling objects, animals, and fire. Theft is also included in the policy.
People typically spend millions of dollars on their cars. Imagine if some of them are stolen. That would be overwhelming. Say bye to that concern and trouble with this coverage.
---It helps you avoid applying for bank loans and other non-traditional lending institutions.
If your vehicle is not insured and you only have limited savings in the bank, you will still run out of budget when repairing your car.
So, you do not have a choice but to apply for a bank loan. Since it takes time for a bank loan to be approved, you may depend on non-conventional lending institutions. While they may be helpful, prepare yourself as the interest may be higher than you had thought. You can avoid all of these things when your car is insured ahead of time.
What are the Benefits of Collision Insurance?
After purchasing comprehensive coverage, you can also buy this policy. Some of its pros are highlighted below:
---There is no need to worry about high repair costs.
Depending on your premium, you may not experience high financial compensation for repair and replacement.
---You can begin with the repair process after a crash.
After a crash, you can initiate the repair as quickly as possible. When other drivers are the ones to blame, you can reimburse all expenses you pay automatically.
What Are the Other Things to Remember During Deer-Related Accidents?
No one is ready for any road accidents. But whatever the aftermath of the accident, try to calm down and stay focused. A family member, a friend, or a colleague might be injured during the accident. Get your first aid kit to control any bleeding.