Houston’s sprawling urban landscape is surrounded by vast rural areas where wildlife crossings are not uncommon. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to motor vehicle accidents involving deer and other animals, which can result in serious injuries and complex legal issues.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident caused by deer or other wildlife, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the steps you should take to protect yourself legally and financially.
Understanding the Risks: Houston Deer-Car Accident Statistics
In the vast state of Texas, wildlife-vehicle collisions are a significant concern, with over 55,000 deer-related crashes reported in the last five years. The year 2020 marked a peak in these incidents, with 11,307 crashes, highlighting an urgent need for awareness and precautionary measures. The Houston area, with its proximity to both urban and rural environments, is particularly susceptible to such accidents.
As car accident attorneys, we at Joe I. Zaid & Associates are all too familiar with the dangers posed by these unexpected encounters.
Car accidents caused by wildlife not only pose a threat to the safety of drivers and passengers but also present unique challenges when it comes to insurance and legal claims. It’s important to note that, according to TxDot, one in every ten road crashes in Texas involves striking an animal, a statistic that underscores the importance of being vigilant while driving, especially in areas known for high deer populations.
Common Injuries from Deer-Car Collisions
The impact of a Houston area motor vehicle accident involving a deer can be devastating. The size and weight of these animals can cause significant damage to your vehicle and lead to a range of injuries, some of which may be life-altering. Common injuries from such collisions include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which can have long-term cognitive effects.
- Spinal cord injuries, potentially leading to paralysis.
- Fractures and broken bones, requiring extensive recovery time.
- Cuts and lacerations, which can result in scarring or infection.
- Soft tissue injuries, like whiplash, that may not be immediately apparent.
- Injuries to the pelvis, arm, and leg, which can impair mobility.
If you’ve sustained any of these injuries in a car accident caused by deer, it’s imperative to seek immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms seem minor at first. Following medical treatment, contacting a personal injury attorney should be your next step to ensure that your rights are protected.
Causes and Prevention of Deer-Car Accidents
Several factors contribute to the likelihood of a deer-car collision. Driver distraction or inattention, swerving to avoid an animal, poor visibility during dusk or night, and the presence of animals near roadways are common causes. As experienced Houston animal car crash lawyers, we advise taking the following preventive measures:
- Remain vigilant and maintain a cautious speed in areas with high wildlife activity.
- Utilize high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic to better spot animals.
- Slow down if you see animals near the road, as they often travel in groups.
- Avoid swerving, which can cause loss of vehicle control; instead, use your horn to try to scare the animal away.
By implementing these strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of a Houston area motor vehicle accident involving wildlife.
The Role of a Houston Deer-Car Accident Attorney
After a collision with a deer, you may be left feeling overwhelmed by the damage to your vehicle, physical injuries, and the potential maze of insurance claims. This is where the expertise of a Houston personal injury law firm like Joe I. Zaid & Associates comes into play.
We specialize in Houston personal injury cases, including those involving deer-car accidents, and can guide you through the complexities of the legal process.
The question often arises, “Do I need a lawyer for a deer-car accident?” The answer is yes, especially if you’ve suffered injuries or significant vehicle damage. An experienced Houston car accident attorney can help you navigate insurance negotiations and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Legal Considerations and Insurance in Deer-Car Accidents
When it comes to Houston personal injury cases involving deer-car accidents, understanding the nuances of insurance and liability is crucial. In Texas, drivers are mandated to have liability insurance, which may cover damages resulting from a collision with wildlife. However, the extent of coverage can vary based on the specifics of your policy and the circumstances surrounding the accident.
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to offer settlements that may not fully account for the long-term costs of an injury or the total damages to your vehicle. Before accepting any offer, it’s wise to consult with a Houston personal injury attorney.
Our team at Joe I. Zaid & Associates can review your policy, assess the fairness of the settlement, and negotiate with insurers on your behalf to ensure your rights are upheld.
Establishing Liability in Deer-Car Accidents
Determining liability in a car accident caused by wildlife can be more complex than in other types of vehicle collisions. Typically, the driver who hits the deer is not found at fault unless their actions following the collision lead to further accidents.
For example, if you hit a deer and another vehicle is involved in an accident as a result, liability issues can become complicated. In such cases, having a deer-car accident attorney by your side is invaluable in sorting out the details and establishing liability.
What should I do if I hit a deer?
Move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible.
Contact the police and file an accident report.
Take pictures of the scene and any damage to your vehicle.
Seek medical attention for any injuries.
What if my car is damaged or totaled after hitting a deer?
Contact your insurance company and file a claim.
Provide documentation of the damage and the accident report.
Consult with a personal injury attorney to ensure fair compensation.
Can I be held liable if my car hits a deer and causes an accident with another vehicle?
Liability in such cases can be complex. If you hit a deer and then another car is involved in an accident as a result, it’s essential to consult with a Houston Deer-Car Accident Attorney to determine liability and your legal obligations.
Is it possible to recover damages for emotional distress after a Deer-Car accident?
Yes, in some cases, you may be able to recover damages for emotional distress. An experienced attorney can help you understand if your case qualifies for such compensation.
What type of compensation can I expect from a Deer-Car accident claim?
Compensation may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and possibly punitive damages, depending on the specifics of the case.
How long do I have to file a claim after a Deer-Car accident in Texas?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Texas is generally two years from the date of the accident. However, it’s best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed in a timely manner.
Will my insurance rates go up if I file a claim for a Deer-Car accident?
It depends on your insurance provider and policy. Some insurers may not increase your rates for an accident involving wildlife, but you should review your policy and speak with your insurance agent for specifics.
What should I do if the insurance company offers me a settlement after a Deer-Car accident?
Before accepting any settlement offer, it’s advisable to consult with a Houston Deer-Car Accident Attorney to ensure that the settlement adequately covers your damages and losses.
Can I still file a claim if I was partially at fault for the Deer-Car accident?
Texas follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means you can still recover damages if you are less than 51% at fault for the accident. However, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault.
What if the deer or animal runs away after the accident, and I have no proof of the collision?
Document the scene as best as you can, take photos of your vehicle’s damage, and look for any witnesses. An accident report filed with the police can also serve as evidence of the incident.
Are there any legal protections for the deer or wildlife involved in the accident?
Wildlife is generally considered the property of the state, and there are no specific legal protections for animals in the event of a Deer-Car accident. However, there may be regulations regarding the handling of the animal carcass post-accident.