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Hit a Deer now having alignment and bent frame/suspension issues

I am not real familiar with cars but I (my husband was driving)hit a deer in late October on the front/side of the drivers side of the car. The drivers side light assembly, hood, radiator and other coolant systems needed to be replaced (at least thats what they said were the only problems) . We were in Ashtabula, Ohio, ~200 miles from home, so we had to have it repaired at a shop there, instead of our normal dealer. That dealership forgot to put in a gasket and some coolant in a cooling system, making the whole dashboard light up about half way home and the steering was really tight and the alignment was way off. We had to take it to the dealership when we got home and had found out that they forgot those pcs. Neither shop said anything about the alignment or steering being off and now, today, I am told that the a suspension pc and frame might also be bent on top of an alignment problem?!?! The passenger side is bent badly and the alignment throught the right tire in about 1 inch further than the left one. Is this common with hitting a deer on the driver side/front?

Deer have been known to total cars. Yes, extreme damage is common.

You need to let your insurance know, and then get an itemized estiimate of everything necessary to get the Prius back to original condition. Then file a claim adjustment with your insurance company. They’ll probably send an adjuster to the shop to verify the damage (and negotiate the cost).

Sincere best.

Someone did a really lousy job fixing your car. Were you in a big hurry? To fix the car properly you should have been given a rental car to get home. Then your car would have the frame straightened as the 1st step in the process. Then it gets body parts replaced and painted. Then the lights are installed. And finally it gets aligned and test driven to be sure all systems, including the cooling system are functioning with no leaks.

Your insurance company should not pay the bill for these repairs since they were done so poorly. In my wildest dreams I can’t imagine a good body shop letting a car go out the door without being aligned after a front end collision, deer or otherwise.

I just got off the phone with the insurance adjuster and he says that there is no way that a deer accident would cause any such problems like these. He says they prolly wont pay for these damages because we didnt roll into a ditch. And we went back to NY and it took them 2+ weeks to repair the car in Ohio so we weren’t in a hurry.

It is not at all surprising that a collision with a deer would do the damage described. Your insurance adjuster seems to have found a way to weasel out of paying repairs, even if incomplete. I’d shop now for better insurance but first tell the story to your agent. You should not be required to learn after the fact what will satisfy your insurance to get them to do what they were paid to do.

If you hit the deer at 5 to 10 mph I might agree with the adjuster. If you hit the deer at 50 - 70 mph then you can certainly damage a frame. I hit a deer on a motorcycle at 30 mph and ended up in a helicopter to a trama center. A mid sized deer is a big animal and I think the problem could be your insurance company. Do you have pictures of the damaged car? Do you have a police report? Do you know the size and weight of the deer you hit?

Eventually you might need a lawyer to go after your insurer. I suspect they didn’t authorize the repairs the car really needed. They made it look OK, but didn’t deal with the structural damage at all.

Does anyone have any suggestions in dealing with the insurance company on covering this? They come to look at the damage tomorrow. I left the car at the dealership shop so they can fix it. Also would this (right side) be explained by the deer being hit on the drivers side/front? They are arguing that this could not be because we didnt go into a ditch and that we didnt drive over the deer. It was a large buck that hit us and it went flying toward to median, dead as a doornail almost instantly on impact.

We were going down the highway at 65ish when we got hit by the deer. so from the comments posted, it seems that the insurance company is just trying to get out of paying/repairing it to its previous condition before the accident.

Are there any experts out there willing to testify to this totally being a possibility with hitting a deer? It sounds like that is what I need at this point. I wish I had pictures to show you but I do not.

Talk to a lawyer ASAP. Your insurance company has a contract with you to cover the damages from the accident. It is their burden to prove it was unrelated. If they cannot, than they are obligated in accordance with the terms of the policy.

If the problem is alleged to involve the right front then why does hitting the deer with the left front have anything to do with it?

Did you buy this car brand new or used?

As to the frame, the odds of it being bent by a deer strike are very, very remote.

OK4450, with great respect I’ll have to disagree on that point. The structure is designed to absorb energy from specific directions typical of car accidents. The trouble with a deer is that they’ll often flip up on the car, and could easily push a strut tower out of whumpus. Deer hit the car in entirely different ways than the car was designed to absorb.

I’ve seen the front of a car crushed by a good sized buck.

I have seen impact forces travel from one side of a vehicle to the other.

My mom’s car was rearended some months back, in the left rear area. The force traveled all the way over to the right taillamp area and buckled sheetmetal on that side of the car also.

You don’t think the cradle might be bent?

Cradles are sometimes designed to be the “weak point”. What I mean is that they will often deform and save the frame from the big hit.

If the cradle is bent, your alignment angles may be off.

I’m surprised you don’t have any pictures. Next time, take your own pics of any body damage. There should be lots of pictures taken either by the body shop, or the insurance adjuster, or both. If you get a lawyer you can ask for all photo evidence as part of discovery.

When you hit a deer, a wall, a car, or anything substantial with one side of the front of your car, the whole car experiences significant torque and twisting forces. If you had a slow motion video you’d be amazed at the waves of force that are transmitted throughout the car.

A decent sized buck will weigh about 800 to 1000 lbs. That’s just about like hitting a horse or a cow. Sometimes a deer will jump at the last second and the impact will on the hood, windshield, and roof. Some hits are more dead on and that is when the headlights, grill, fenders, and hood take the brunt of the damage.

This is why pictures of the original damage are important to assess the amount of frame and structural damage. A low hit would cause much more frame torque and damage than a “high” hit.

At this point I think you tell the insurance company you are not satisfied with the repairs and indicate you either expect the car restored to pre-deer hit condition, the car declared a total loss so you can buy another car, or you will be contacting legal representation in this matter.

well i havent hit or drove over anything to have caused the damage besides the accident.

I’m just curious as to whether the car was purchased new or used along with the possibility that the car may have had existing damage all along.

Granted, it’s possible for anything to happen but I’m having a hard time seeing the RF being badly damaged when the LF strike area is apparently not.

My opinion, narrow as it is, is based on doing a limited number of deer strike repairs and I’ve never seen any strut tower or subframe damage; even on a company Subaru that centerpunched a deer at 80 MPH. In that one it wiped everything on the front of the car out; fenders, hood, radiator, A/C condenser, lighting, etc, etc. and wrinkled the upper radiator support but there was zero suspension and frame damage. (The doctor who was about to take delivery of that car was NOT amused.) :slight_smile:
Anything is possible though.

Uncle T made me laugh. I can see a vision of a deer jumping up at the last second. No doubt they do jump to take off, but the vision is funny.

What often happens is that the car clips the legs right out from under the deer and it flips up onto the car. This is a Prius, too, which is kind of wedge shaped.

Without actually seeing the car it’s impossible to guess exactly what happened, but whatever it was the OP is in a dispute with the insurance company. Lawyer time.

Here’s some questions which might sound weird.
Did the shop send it to their own body shop?
Or did they just have their “regular” mechanics replace the obviously damaged parts?

The reason I’m asking is this . . . perhaps the guy who got the job wasn’t really qualified to measure the car for structural damage.

But it sounds like they missed some really obvious stuff . . .

The separate issue is that regardless of insurance they will collect from the state of ohio what is needed to fix your car. The state of ohio let its wild stock run free and strike your car and they owe the money to make you whole. You can separately claim the state for the fix and then you will need to give some back to the insurance co. Have you thought of getting a better insurance co? They are rideing you left right and center. They will get reimbursed for all the money they spent on your car from the state of ohio.

I do agree with ok4450 , my first thought was that the odds of bending your frame by hitting a deer was unlikely but then i saw that we were talking about a prius. there isnt much there to start with so maybe it did. I see lots of vehicles in our shop that have hit deer and dont recall any frame damge, they will tear the heck out of about everything else though and for sure knock out the alignment.