Many parts of West Virginia are beautiful, especially in the fall. However, beautiful areas like Appalachia have perils that you would not expect: such as auto collisions with deer. At this time of year, the collisions are most common, as deer are prone to be most active.
For the fourth year in a row, West Virginia was rated by State Farm as the number one state for auto collisions with deer. Right now, with hunting season starting and deer mating, deer are constantly on the move. Not only are they roaming around in the usual rural areas, but also they are appearing more frequently in suburban areas. Part of the reason is suburban sprawl, but the other is that the deer population is growing. At the least, deer can be a nuisance for property owners. At worst, it can mean a fatality for both the deer and you.
Fortunately, deer fatalities remain low — nationwide, they amount to 200 per year. However, that doesn’t mean that a collision with a deer cannot cause a lot of damage. In neighboring Ohio, reported deer collisions were 23,201, but Department of Transportation officials believed that it could be as high as 60,000 because so many people fail to report the collisions. The majority of collisions occur between 5 pm and midnight, when visibility is at its lowest. Motorists often don’t see the deer until they are right in front of their headlights, and by then it’s too late.
Officials are urging motorists to use extra caution between dusk and dawn and to watch for deer crossing signs. If you see a deer while driving, chances are there may be one or two more nearby. If you accidentally hit a deer, you should report it to a law enforcement agency as soon as possible.
If you accidentally hit a deer, you will be forced to pay for the damage out of pocket or through your insurance. You can’t sue a deer for colliding with your car, so it wouldn’t be worth it to hire an attorney to represent you. However, most auto collisions are between two people and are avoidable. If you are involved in an auto collision, don’t hesitate to hire an experienced West Virginia car accident attorney. An attorney has the resources to quickly investigate the scene of the collision and to interview witnesses. An attorney can also help you obtain damages (a money award) for the injuries that can result, such as head, neck, and spinal injuries. You would file a lawsuit against the other driver for negligence and if you prevailed, the jury would award you damages. Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, in West Virginia, you can still collect unless you are 50% or more at fault.
We at the Wolfe Law Firm have more than 20 years of experiences helping those in auto accidents get the relief that they need. If your insurance company will not give you a fair settlement, we can take your case to court. We serve clients in Elkins, Harrison County, Randolph County, and throughout West Virginia. Contact us if you or someone you know was injured in an auto collision.