Hundreds of motorists suffer injuries each year in car accidents in New Jersey involving deer. According to New Jersey Department of Transportation, there were nearly 35,000 deer-related wrecks in the state between 2008 and 2012; and those accidents caused injuries to 1,813 people. Officials said the number could go higher considering the existence of unreported crashes. A deer-related fatal crash that claimed the life of a Neptune man occurred on April 8.
A 59-year-old man from Neptune was traveling north in the express lane of Garden State Parkway in his Acura when he struck a deer at mile post 112.5 at 5:44 a.m. After the impact, the man crashed into a guardrail, traveled off the road, and hit a tree. He was trapped in his crushed vehicle and had to be extricated by rescue crews. Three hours later, the man was pronounced dead at the accident scene. Reports say the National Weather Service had issued a dense fog advisory, but authorities could not determine if fog played a role in the fatal crash.
Such wrecks have become a growing problem in rural and suburban areas in the state of New Jersey. In fact, the state ranks 13th in the country when it comes to deer-vehicle accidents. According to Triple-A, these collisions have risen 34 percent in the state over the past few years.
Drivers may reduce their chance of colliding with a deer by traveling below the speed limit and looking out for the animals on the sides of the road, especially during mating season. They are heard animals, meaning more will likely follow if a driver sees one ahead. When approaching an area where deer may be present, flashing the lights and blasting the horn can help induce them to get out of the road. Often, drivers who strike a deer can avoid more severe damage by staying on the road and applying the brakes rather than swerving.
When people are injured or killed in a deer-related accident, their insurance company must act in good faith to compensate the victims. Sometimes, the government entity that maintains the road can be liable for failing to post necessary deer crossing warnings. In pursuing a compensation claim against the responsible party, the assistance of a New Jersey personal injury attorney is invaluable.