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The Law Office of Stephen W. Wolf, LLC

26777 Lorain Road Suite 709

North Olmsted, Ohio  44070


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Ohio Failure to Control Law

If a deer causes an accident, it is your fault

... unless you can get the deer to testify

In 2014, the Ninth District Court of Appeals, which covers Lorain, Medina, Summit and Wayne County, ruled that if you hit a tree after swerving to avoid a deer that had run out in front of you, it is your fault.  No, really, your fault.

To be fair, the driver who drove off the road could provide no proof that the deer had caused the accident.  Had he hit the deer and killed it, no problem.  Another case, PDF here, in another part of Ohio, stated, no, an emergency does, in fact, negate failure to control liability.  That's not law anywhere but in that other district, but it is persuasive here.

The takeaway from the case is that if a deer causes an accident, it is the fault of the driver unless that driver can prove with evidence that the deer existed.

An article about the case is here.  A PDF of that article is here.  A PDF of the case is here.

It is important that you remember that you have the right to remain silent.  Everything you say can and will be used against you.  For example, the officer may come up after stopping you and ask, "Where are you going in such a hurry?"  Don't admit to hurrying by telling the officer where you're going.  Anything you say is an admission you are in a hurry.  It is likely you are being video recorded.  That answer will be played at your trial. You have the right to be silent.  Use it!  If you aren't guilty of anything, say, "Officer, I do not believe I broke any laws."

Your Right to Remain Silent - click here

Is it worth hiring an attorney for a failure to control ticket?  Quite possibly!

There are many reasons that you might want to contest or fight an alleged violation of failure to control.  For instance, you might wish to avoid the points that will go on your record with a conviction.  You might wish to keep the conviction from impacting the price you pay for insurance.  A conviction means you caused the damage to your car and the property it hit.  It is not a trivial matter when your livelihood is on the line.

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