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Pennsylvania leads country in deer-related accidents

As the sun continues to go down earlier with each coming day, the chances of a Pennsylvanian driver running into a deer on the road are increasing. These collisions can lead to personal injuries, property damage and even distracted driving accidents.

Since over half of Pennsylvania’s lands are forests, the state has a considerable amount of deer. Specifically, it has around 1.5 million deer, which is about 30 deer per square mile. Unfortunately, this extensive amount of wildlife has led the state to have one of the highest deer-related accident rates in the country.

More deer means more crashes

The Observer-Reporter recently highlighted a study by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. The study found that there were more than 4,000 deer-related crashes reported in Pennsylvania in 2016. This resulted in 573 injuries and four deaths that year. The county that led the state in deer accidents was Allegheny with 190. For the last three years, Pennsylvania ranked first in animal-related insurance losses.

Additionally, the Observer-Reporter interviewed local body shop managers to understand how frequently people come in for repairs after a deer-related accident. A manager they talked to states that these accidents make up for nearly 25 to 30 percent of the cars brought in. While the fall months are considered to be the peak season for deer incidents, the manager believes that there is no deer accident shortage throughout the year due to how large the population has become.

What to do after a deer-related accident

If you crash into a deer on a highway, Pennsylvania considers it a not-at-fault accident. Your auto insurance company can cover for it under comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance is not applicable for deer accidents as they are more equivalent to environmental hazards such as hail damage or falling tree branches.

If you end up in a deer-related accident, State Farm recommends:

  • Moving your car to a safer location
  • Calling the police
  • Taking pictures or writing down details of the accident
  • Staying away from the animal
  • Contacting your insurance agent
  • Calling a tow truck if your car is undrivable

However, even if you manage to slow down and avoid hitting the deer, a negligent driver could still hit you if they were not paying attention to your speed or were tailgating you. If there was no deer contact, it is no not-at-fault accident. The other driver is liable for any personal injuries or property damages you receive from the accident.

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