View Full Version : I just hit a deer. Do I call the cops?

Really Not All That Bright
12-08-2003, 01:35 AM
Its on a main road through a series of subdivisions; I hit it, and was so freaked out I didn't stop till I got home. My car is creamed, and I don't think its possible that the deer walked away, but my roommate went looking for the deer and didn't find it.

Advice, please... I'm still a little stunned, so sorry if this is oddly worded.

12-08-2003, 01:50 AM
Eventually, yes,

you'll probably have to file an accident report for insurance purposes. Different procedures and laws for this vary by the state.

12-08-2003, 01:53 AM
In my opinion, no. The cops I've met don't know any really good recipes, and won't help you get the deer home.

Legally, you only want to notify them if you want to file an insurance claim or if the carcass is a traffic hazard. Hitting deers is not illegal. Deers are not endangered. In some parts of the nation deer collisions are among the common causes of automobile damage, and in many areas, they breed themselves to the point where the surroundings can't support them well in hard winters. Often 'population reduction' hunting seasons are instituted because a smaller number of healthy deer is considered better than a large population of half-starved or dying deer.

12-08-2003, 01:55 AM
I am an idiot. I don't know why I repeatedly typed 'deers' when I've known since childhood that 'deer' is the correct plural. Don't report me to the cops either.

Really Not All That Bright
12-08-2003, 01:55 AM
So either way, I don't have to do it right away?

12-08-2003, 11:44 AM
I wouldn't put it off too long.

12-08-2003, 11:46 AM
Call your insurance agent and see if they need a police report.

12-08-2003, 11:48 AM
Depends on the state. I hit a deer in Wisconsin one evening and didn't report it until the next day. I was yelled at by the police who threatened to give me a ticket for "failure to promptly report an accident."

Regardless of the police, I'd report it to your insurer as soon as possible. They may have rules about reporting it to the police....

12-08-2003, 11:51 AM
I'd have to say it depends on the state (or local jurisdiction, as the case may be), but IIRC in NJ we never, ever had to notify anyone - except the mechanic. :)

12-08-2003, 12:05 PM
Only if you think the deer will later press charges. ;)

12-08-2003, 12:49 PM
Wow. I was envisioning a doper with a laptop and wireless link parked on the roadside, Bambi on hood, seeking advice from the teeming millions.

In PA, an accident is only deemed reportable to the PD if it involves personal injury, or a vehicle involved is not able to be driven from the scene under its own power.

Somewhere in Lancaster county, there's a deer carcass emblazoned droF, courtesy of me.

12-08-2003, 01:02 PM
Here's some Florida information, relevant to the OP.

If you see, or have, a deer/vehicle accident, call the Sheriff dispatcher at (305) 872-3311 or Emergency at 911. He or she will contact the Key Deer Refuge staff. Your information is important.
—Prepared by Monroe County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Then again, that might be a different county than yours.

12-08-2003, 01:33 PM
In BC, I believe (not exactly sure, though) you have to report road-kill if the beast is over 30 lbs (or something).

Either way, here's the options:

You call the cops, it was not necessary: they tell you not to worry about it.
You don't call, it was necessary: they arrest you.

I'm thinking you'd want to play on the safe side and call unless you're *sure* you don't need to, no?

12-08-2003, 02:06 PM
Often the deer meat from vehicle/Deer collisions is donated to the poor, so for that point alone I would consider reporting it.

12-08-2003, 02:12 PM
Please don't punch the wildlife.

Bryan Ekers
12-08-2003, 02:23 PM
I hit a guy while driving a John Deere, once, but luckily the cops never found out.

12-08-2003, 02:42 PM

Had this happen several months back - somebody else on the road stopped as well. I used their cell phone to dial the county sheriff's office, who basically said "OK, thanks", and wasn't terribly interested in even taking my name and license number. No report.

The insurance company didn't expect a police report. One thing I found interesting - they said it came under "comprehensive". That's good, because if it were under "collision" it would affect your rates. When I mentioned this to the guy at the body shop, he told me that if I'd hit a dog, it would have been collision - I got a laugh out of him by suggesting that maybe the insurance company thinks dogs ought to know enough to look both ways before crossing the road. Actually, I imagine the distinction is that a domestic animal is damage to somebody's property, whereas a wild animal running out in front of you is an "act of god". In my case, the damned thing undertook a kamikaze dive from the wooded bank alongside the road ABOVE the car. When the State Farm rep contacted me again, she said she wanted to talk about the "deer that hit my car" - a rather odd way to put it, but in keeping with the idea that it's a comprehensive claim, I suppose.

12-08-2003, 03:32 PM
Depending on how damaged your car is, I'd consider not calling your insurance (although you might be required to call).

my wife bumped into another car in a parking lot, and left a little mark. She left a note and then called our insurance...

The guy called us back, said the mark was already there, so no problem. We called the insurance company back and they said even though there was no claim, it would still be filed as an at-fault accident, and that our rates would be raised!

I told the agent I wish I hadn't called, and she said any time anything happens to your car, you're required to report it -- or you're in violation of your terms.

12-08-2003, 04:05 PM
If the deer survived, it's likely injured. At the very least, the police could euthanise the deer quickly and humanely, and call the game warden or whoever would have jurisdiction at that point to remove the carcass.

12-08-2003, 04:16 PM
DanTheMan: That statute is for the florida Key Deer, a smaller and very endangered subspecies found only in the keys. Anywhere else, don't bother. :)

12-08-2003, 04:25 PM
Ah, I see. Thanks for the clarification.

Maybe all you need's a bigggggg spatula, then. :)

Really Not All That Bright
12-08-2003, 05:01 PM
Called the Seminole County Sheriff's Office... apparently I only need to report it if I'm filing an insurance claim, which I'm not until I see how much this is gonna cost me...

Thanks for all your help.

Went back looking for it this morning, and although there was a patch of blood about where I think I hit the damn thing, there wasn't a deer to go with it... hungry bears around, maybe...

12-08-2003, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by timgregory
We called the insurance company back and they said even though there was no claim, it would still be filed as an at-fault accident, and that our rates would be raised! As was stated above, deer hits fall under comprehensive (I know, I've done it and paid the deductible) and there is no fault assigned.

12-08-2003, 06:43 PM
The OP appears to be answered, but just as a cautionary note to folks in other states: The Laws All Differ.

When I encountered a cervine Kamikaze in North Dakota, last year, I did call the state police. (My car was not drivable and I was 600 miles from home.) The officer made out a little form to hand to the collision shop. When I gave them the form the next morning, they said they were glad I'd hung on to it because in ND they cannot legally perform any major body work without a notice from the police that it has been reported. (My guess is that the law is intended to reduce the number of hit-skips by allowing the cops to inspect all vehicle damage.)

12-08-2003, 11:40 PM
Back in the 80s I was told by my brother-in -law in Western Illinois that if you ran over and killed a deer on the road with your pickup that it was yours. I had some of the meat.

12-09-2003, 02:09 AM
Originally posted by SmackFu
As was stated above, deer hits fall under comprehensive (I know, I've done it and paid the deductible) and there is no fault assigned.
You're saying you can't sue the deer's insurer?

12-09-2003, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by robo99
Back in the 80s I was told by my brother-in -law in Western Illinois that if you ran over and killed a deer on the road with your pickup that it was yours. I had some of the meat. Slight hijack, but did you butcher it yourself?

At the butcher I take my deer to, there’s a large sign that says, “Will not accept road kill deer.” I suspect this is to deter people from bringing in deer they found in a ditch by the side of the road. (Where it may have lied there for a week or more.)

12-09-2003, 12:28 PM
Unfortunately, I can speak from experience in Arkansas. My lady wife hit a Basset Hound yesterday on her way to work. She was on the the Interstate, it was in the passing lane (presumably on its way back from the median) and refused to yield. :-(

Anyway, our insurer said that he didn't need a police report to take care of the damages to the car.

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