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Motor Vehicle Collisions with Livestock

by | Oct 17, 2017 | Car Accidents

California produces an astonishing amount of the food that is consumed in the United States and abroad, accounting for approximately 50% of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables grown in the country, as well as 20% of the milk and a large amount of animal protein. This does wonder for our economy and helps keep food prices low for the whole country, but it puts many of us Californians at risk for dangerous interactions with these animals while out on our roads and highways. The risk is greater for those in rural areas, but the problem is spreading as our cities encroach on our agricultural lands and this problem will continue to affect more drivers every year.

How and Why Does a Car Accident with a Cow Happen?

Cows, horses and other large grazing animals require lots of open lands to graze and breed, and these pieces of land can at times house thousands of animals. The land containing these animals should be properly secured to reduce or eliminate the risk of an animal wandering off, or a group of animals escaping. When one of these animals makes its way onto a road or highway it can prove disastrous. Many of these animals can weigh as much or more than a small car and will most certainly cause serious damage to a vehicle in the event of a collision. Have you been in a car accident with a cow or in a car accident with a horse? Call our injury Sacramento car accident attorney today for a free consultation!

How Do You Determine Liability When a Car Hits Livestock or Another Large Animal?

Animal and livestock owners have a duty to properly control their animals and ensure they do not make their way onto our State’s highways. This includes the duty to adequately secure their properties and confine their animals with fencing. Negligence with regards to an animal owner’s control over their animals could extend the liability from their animal’s actions to them, but it requires a strong case developed by an experienced Sacramento injury attorney.

  • California Food and Agriculture Code Section 16902 – A person that owns or controls the possession of any livestock shall not willfully or negligently permit any of the livestock to stray upon, or remain unaccompanied by a person in charge or control of the livestock upon, a public highway, if both sides of the highway are adjoined by property which is separated from the highway by a fence, wall, hedge, sidewalk, curb, lawn, or building.
  • California Food and Agriculture Code Section 16904 – In any civil action which is brought by the owner, driver, or occupant of a motor vehicle, or by their personal representatives or assignees, or by the owner of livestock, for damages which are caused by collision between any motor vehicle and any domestic animal on a highway, there is no presumption or inference that the collision was due to negligence on behalf of the owner or the person in possession of the animal.

Essentially, the above states that in a civil case brought about as a result of a motor vehicle collision with an animal, neither party is automatically deemed liable, and liability will have to be determined on a case-by-case basis. You must have an experienced injury attorney in Sacramento with the access to the right investigators and specialists that can establish liability and negligence on the part of the animal owner. Farmers and animal owners are required to secure their animals, and if their animals cause injury to a motorist, they should be held accountable. Call the Weinberger Law Firm for a free consultation with a Sacramento car accident attorney today!

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