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Seeing the Billion

Does Old McDonald Have a Lawyer?

You have almost certainly heard the old nursery rhyme, “Old McDonald had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-o.” The rhyme, meant to teach small children about farm animals and the sounds that the farm animals typically make, is a fun activity. But do you know what is not fun? Receiving injuries from an accident involving those very same farm animals or livestock.

You heard it right: livestock accidents are a very real problem that every year, many Americans experience and must handle. Animals are supposed to be reasonably restrained and prevented from escaping onto roads in which they can be hit. Running into livestock is not only dangerous for the animals, but also for your vehicle and its inhabitants as the large bodies of the livestock can do serious damage.

The premise of this problem is funny enough, but the scope of injuries and the litigation surrounding the issue is no laughing matter. In this post, I will cover some of the common causes of livestock accidents and detail more information about an issue that millions of Americans face.

The Prevalence of Animal-Vehicle Collisions

Obvious to anecdotal evidence and instincts on the nature of driving, millions of Americans collide their vehicles with animals on the road. However, many of these animals are smaller animals like squirrels or, sadly, dogs and cats. Beneficial to our efforts, though, is the 2008 Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Reduction Study: Report To Congress from the Federal Highway Administration. This report proves that millions of Americans experience collisions with large animals specifically, every year.

Most accidents take place on two-lane roads, though this does not inherently mean it is an issue unique to rural areas of the United States. Additional shocking, saddening information about this phenomenon is the degree to which these accidents occur with endangered or decreasing animal species.

The Cause of These Collisions

Weather conditions, road conditions, driver error, tire tread, and so many other factors can certainly impact or influence the likelihood of these collisions. Thankfully, no serious scholar of this issue blames animals or finds this party in the interaction as the party responsible for changing in order to reduce the prevalence of these collisions.

Surprisingly, as the website for the law firm Hare Wynn discusses, one of the common causes specific to livestock accidents is improper enclosure practices from ranchers or farmers. Issues with fencing (such as broken fencing, leaving gate(s) open, or not regularly checking in with stock quantities) are closely related to livestock accidents.

Unfortunately, the burden to prove that a person did not manage their property properly or follow through with their responsibilities as a caretaker of livestock will fall on the shoulders of the person that is injured in a collision and wanting to make a claim about negligence. However, this is not impossible with the right legal counsel that is experienced in this admittedly niche issue.

Cows or other animals on the road pose a risk to drivers. Either through distracted driving, poor conditions, or perhaps just animals walking on the road and becoming an impossible-to-maneuver-around obstacle, livestock collisions with vehicles are common. The key is preventing them as best as possible and if they occur, holding the person responsible for their role in the accident.

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