Many catastrophic accidents that happen on America’s highways and roadways involve free roaming livestock from neighboring farms. When ranchers and dairy farmers are negligent at keeping their livestock secured, others traveling on roadways can be seriously injured. Often times, animals escape from the farm and cross roadways and freeways causing collisions with catastrophic injuries. Anyone involved in an auto accident with livestock should seek immediate medical care and hire legal representation for compensation.
The most catastrophic auto accidents involving cattle usually occur at night when the darkened skies make it nearly impossible to see the animal until impact. Alternatively, most vehicle accidents involving horses usually occur during daylight. This produces a challenging legal situation because animals in daylight are significantly easier to notice, where the driver has the duty to avoid any object that could cause a collision.
Often times, automobile accidents involving livestock are the result of farmers and ranchers that neglect to properly maintain their fencing structures along roads and highways. In many situations, the act of negligence can hold them legally responsible for all financial damages when someone is injured or killed after hitting livestock on the road. In addition to the ranch owner or farmer, other individuals may be held responsible. This could include ranch hands and farmhands in charge of maintaining livestock enclosures.
Colliding with a cow or horse at a high rate of speed can cause catastrophic injuries that could include:
- Severed limbs
- Crushed bones and fractures
- Brain/head trauma
- Paralysis including paraplegia and quadriplegia
- Organ damage
In addition to physical injuries, many victims suffer emotional damage that takes years to go away, if ever.
How to Prove and Win a Case Involving an Auto Accident With Livestock
To hold the responsible party legally accountable, an injured victim, or surviving family members of a loved one killed in an auto accident involving livestock, must prove others acted negligently. The rancher, farmer or others in charge of keeping the animal must have had knowledge that the animal has escaped or was free roaming and failed to take reasonable action to promptly capture or restrain the livestock. However, proving this can be complex. Because of that, many victims and surviving family members will hire a skilled personal injury attorney to handle the case.
A personal injury lawyer experienced with auto accidents involving livestock can investigate the claim to determine if the animal was allowed to roam freely. It can be determined if the livestock repeatedly ran at large, there may be an inference that the owner or keeper had knowledge and consent. This could include leaving a gate open or failing to repair any downed fencing for a significant length of time.
Common Defenses Used to Deny Claims
Insurance companies that provide coverage for farmers and ranchers are often hesitant to pay on claims where livestock caused an auto accident. Attorneys representing the insurance company will often build common defenses that are highly effective at minimizing the value of the claim, or denying it altogether. A common defense involves a horse being suddenly spooked and scared enough to break down a legal fence, proving that the owner or keeper was not negligent and that any injured party or family members of the deceased victim have no right to recover damages.
Other times, the insurance company will suggest that the livestock owner was not negligent and placed the burden of proof on the victim to show how a cow, horse or other animal made their escape out of the pasture. Typically, the only way to combat an aggressive insurance company eager to minimize compensation payouts is to hire a skilled personal injury attorney.
Hiring a Lawyer to Prosecute a Case for You
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC are committed to providing aggressive legal representation for all of our clients. Remaining a small legal firm provides the opportunity to spend more time maximizing the benefits obtained for the victims we represent. Our lawyers are experienced in personal injury claims including automobile accidents involving livestock.
We encourage anyone who has suffered a livestock-associated injury to call our law offices at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free, no obligation initial consultation. We can evaluate your claim and provide numerous legal options on the best way to pursue financial compensation from every party responsible for the injuries. We accept auto accident cases involving livestock on contingency to avoid the need of paying upfront fees