When your cow takes on a car, what’s your liability?
by Tiffany Dowell Lashmet
It’s a call no cattle owner wants to receive – news that his or her cattle got out onto the roadway and were struck by a vehicle.
Not only is there concern for the driver and disappointment over losing the cow, oftentimes landowners face another question as well: Can liability be imposed for cattle getting onto the roadway? Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation for cattle owners across the country.
The answer to this question depends on the law in the cattle owner’s specific area as to whether a duty is imposed on livestock owners to contain their animals.
Most states take the opposite approach, imposing “fence-in” or “closed-range laws.” In these states, landowners generally do owe a duty to act reasonably and non-negligently in keeping livestock from escaping onto roadways.
In states with fence-in laws, legal liability will depend on whether the landowner breached his or her duty to act reasonably under the circumstances. READ MORE