As a Seattle personal injury lawyer, I often write about safety issues such as car accidents, distracted driving, crib safety and helmet laws. However, I came across an interesting news article, that sheds light on a different kind of personal injury: wildlife encounters. During the summer months, the increased activity of wildlife actually creates a road hazard for drivers. In fact, just last week a small bear cub was struck by a car traveling along Highway 104. Not long before that happened, a car crashed into a deer on Highway 16 in Ollala. The accident left the woman in the car with critical injuries.
In the North Kitsap Area, cougar sightings have caused a stir among residents. “It’s the time of year people are out more. The cougars are always out. Every year around this time we start to get a lot more calls than normal,” says State Patrol Trooper Kirsta Hedstrom. While suffering a personal injury as a result of a cougar attack is rare, it’s something to watch out for during the summer months when yearlings are out and about. Fish and Wildlife officers offer this advice to avoid a confrontation with a bear or cougar.
- Don’t leave your children unsupervised.
- Keep your bushes and hedges cropped so animals won’t hide behind them.
- Don’t plant vegetation that deer will eat.
- Feed your domestic animals inside and don’t leave their food bowls outside.
- Don’t leave food out for wild animals and use a garbage can with a tight fitting lid.
- Keep outdoor livestock like chickens in secured pens.
- Close off open areas underneath a porch or deck which could be used as a hiding place for a wild animal.
If you do encounter a wild animal like a cougar, do not run away. Face the animal, make yourself look as big as possible and speak firmly while slowly backing away.