Vehicles colliding with large, heavy animals, such as cattle or other livestock, can cause catastrophic harm for the driver and passengers. Throughout Arizona, livestock owners are required to properly secure their animals, but they may not always be legally responsible for damages.
Understand Your Right to Compensation After a Car Accident Involving Cattle or Other Livestock
After suffering injuries in a motor vehicle collision involving cattle or other livestock, the victim may hold all at-fault parties liable for damages. In order to do so, there must have been an act of negligence on the part of the animal owner or keeper, or possibly one or more drivers if there were multiple vehicles involved in the collision. After successfully proving fault of the animal owners and any drivers who failed to exercise care and maintain a safe watch for roadway hazards, the victim would then present their expenses and medical evidence to collect for all damages resulting from the crash.
Negligence is a failure to act as a reasonable person would act under similar circumstances. An animal owner or keeper might know that the animal is roaming freely or could get out but fail to take action to restrain the animal. Simply because cattle are out and running in the road, however, may not be enough to prove that the owner knew and consented to the animals being free to roam on public roads.
An animal owner or keeper’s negligence may be present if the animal was provided the opportunity to roam freely, and there was a substantial likelihood that the animal would wander and block a public road. Failing to properly secure animals exposes the owner or keeper to legal liability if this failure was substantially certain to cause harm to others. This may be shown if, for example, the owner had prior knowledge that their animals could escape their fenced or contained area and roam onto public roads.
In some cases, car accidents involving cattle or other livestock take place at night, and the driver cannot see the animal in the dark road. Each case requires careful attention to detail, since a cow or other livestock running into the road presents unique facts. Factors that may be assessed include whether the cow’s owner maintained secure fencing, as well as whether the driver who encountered the animal could have seen the animal in time to safely and avoid a collision.
If another driver’s negligence was involved in causing the collision, that driver could also be held at fault and be required to pay money damages along with the animal’s owner. Proving that the driver owed a duty of care, breached this duty, and directly caused the victim’s injuries would be essential to a successful claim for damages. The accident victim will also be required to overcome the doctrine of contributory negligence, which, according to Arizona law, may prevent a plaintiff from recovering damages. This doctrine would apply if the defendant successfully shows that the victim contributed, even minimally, to the accident. For example, if the roadway is well lit and the roadway is straight, the victim would not be entitled to payment if a jury finds that the driver could have seen and avoided the animal if he/she was paying proper attention.
Vehicles that collide with an animal can sustain serious property damage, and the driver and passengers can face life-threatening injuries. Victims who demonstrate fault and establish legal liability of the animal owner or keeper may recover costs for their medical bills, missed work wages, and costs associated with the emotional consequences of the accident, such as pain and suffering. Costs for vehicle repairs are also monetary damages that may be recovered in a legal claim for compensation.
AZ Hometown Lawyers represent victims hurt in car accidents involving cattle or other livestock, and we work to secure fair compensation for injuries resulting from this kind of collision. Our law firm exclusively handles motor vehicle accident cases, and we have an extensive knowledge of investigation methods, engineering, and crash reconstruction that aids our presentation of a convincing claim for monetary damages.
CREDIT: Nagel & Associates