There are an estimated 725,000 to 1,500,000 collisions between motor vehicles and deer in the United States alone each year and over one billion dollars in property damage per year. Alaska has the highest number of moose-vehicle collisions in the world. The state of Montana is ranked number two for likelihood of animal-involved claims from a collision. If you have hit an animal while driving, you can officially call yourself a true Montana resident. Although no one wants to hit an animal while driving, it is important to know what to do if you hit an animal on the road. Following these steps can help keep you safe and help your claim:
- Pull over safely, check yourself and any passengers for injuries and call the police.
- The animal may still be alive and scared. Do not approach the animal, try to move the animal off the road, or salvage the animal.
- In the state of Montana, a peace officer may issue permits to applicants for the purpose of salvaging antelope, deer, elk, or moose that have been accidentally killed as a result of a vehicle collision. (MCA 87-3-145)
- Document the accident with photographs of your vehicle, any injuries sustained, and the animal.
- When the police arrive, you may be required to fill out a police report if any injuries were sustained during the collision or damage to your vehicle occurred. These reports can serve as evidence for your insurance and legal claim.
- If there are injuries, go to the hospital immediately after the accident or as soon as possible.
- Promptly file a claim with your insurance company.
You will be covered for hitting a deer or other animal on the road if you have comprehensive coverage, an optional coverage that is not required unless you are leasing or financing your car. Comprehensive coverage will repair the policyholder’s car when it is damaged by something other than an accident with another car or stationary object. If you are injured in a vehicle that hits an animal, call our attorneys to discuss your options for getting help.
If you find yourself in this situation, call (406) 542-2233 to get in touch with our experienced attorneys.
Sources relied on: Huijser , M. P., Kociolek, A., McGowen, P., Hardy, A., Clevenger, A. P., & Ament, R. (2007, May). Wildlife-vehicle collision and crossing mitigation measures. Wildlife-Vehicle Collision and Crossing Mitigation Measures | Montana Department of Transportation (MDT). Retrieved January 5, 2023, from https://mdt.mt.gov/research/projects/env/wildlife-hwy-crossing.aspx