While California is often associated with images of large suburban homes, sunny beaches or vineyards, the reality is that much of California remains rural. Californians take pride in the thriving farming, ranching and animal breeding industries that exist here.
In rural communities in California, car accidents involving animals occur on a regular basis. Most collisions involving animals in California involve either cattle being raised for the meat industry, dairy cows, ostriches or emus raised for the meat industry, or horses kept for riding in the rural community. Additionally, as many California suburbans encroach into previous rural territories, this phenomenon occurs frequently.
While living in rural communities often means decreased danger in the form of petty theft, violent crime and murder, one of the down sides of traveling or living in a rural area involves serious car accidents when one of these large animals are wandering on one of California’s windy rural roads. Some of these large farm animals are between 1,600 to 2,000 pounds obstacles. A collision with them can not only be serious but deadly.
The Edward A Smith Law Offices had handled many collisions involving farm animals. These collisions most often were one of the following scenarios:
- A head on collision due to a animal traveling unexpectedly across the road.
- A rear end collision when the driver stops to allow the escaped farm animal to cross the roadway and an inattentive motorist behind strikes the rear of the stopped vehicle.
- A startled driver swerves attempting to avoid the farm animal that is loose on the road and then subsequently strikes a tree, fence, mailbox or other standing structure due to swerving.
- Swerving into another lane to avoid an animal and in the process strikes another vehicle.
Does the owner of these animals bear any responsibility? Yes. Animal and livestock owners have a duty to properly control their animals so they do not intrude onto highways. Owners also have a duty to securely, and adequately, fence their properties and confine their animals. To learn more about the liability issues involved, see my website: http://livestockaccident.com/liability/
Generally, in cases involving livestock or farm animals, it must be established:
- That the accident is of a kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someone’s carelessness;
- That the accident was caused by something within the defendant’s exclusive control; and
- That the accident was not due to any voluntary act by the plaintiff.
On the other hand, there is no presumption in California of the livestock owner’s liability simply because there is a motor vehicle collision caused by an animal.
If you or someone you care for has been injured in a car wreck caused by an animal in the roadway, contact the Edward A Smith Law Offices as soon as possible. We can guide you through the legal process and we will do our very best to secure a positive outcome for you and your family. Our office, established in 1982, has successfully handled many auto accident claims involving livestock and can provide free no-obligation advice. We can be reached via telephone (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 or via our website.