Whenever you are involved in a car crash in which another party is negligent, you expect the negligent party to pay for your damages and injuries. However, this is not always possible for a motorist injured in collisions with livestock. Here are three complications that make compensation in such cases difficult:
The Animal Owner or Keeper May Be Immune from Lawsuits
In most states, if the owner of the animal is liable, then they have to compensate your losses. For example, if an animal owner has a farm near the road and fails to maintain a suitable fence, they are responsible for crashes caused by the animal. However, there are states that have given livestock owners immunity even if the owners are clearly negligent. Such states have free roaming laws that allow farm animals to grave virtually anywhere. If you hit an animal in such a state, you will be left manage your losses on your own if you crash into livestock. Alabama is a classic example of such a state; in this state, you only get compensated if you can prove that the owner willfully or knowingly placed the livestock on the road.
Locating the Owner of an Animal
In a car-car accident, you can use the plate number of the other vehicle to identify its owner and pursue your compensation. Unfortunately, that may not be possible in a car-livestock crash.
Most animals don't stray too far from their homes. Therefore, it is usually easy to identify the owner of the animal because the farm will be located just next to the road. However, some animals (such as horses) can stray very far from their homes. Tracing such animals to locate their owners can be very expensive. In some cases, you may be better off dealing with the losses on your own.
The Keeper May Lack Adequate Insurance
The last problem you may face is that the animal keeper may lack insurance or the resources to settle your claim. Just because an animal was carelessly let onto the road doesn't mean that its owner is responsible for any damages it may cause. Even the stable keeper, if they were negligent in handling the animal, may be found liable for your injuries. It's more likely to find a keeper without adequate resources or animals than to find an animal owner who doesn't have the same things since most owners are prepared for such eventualities.
As you can see, car-livestock accidents may involve some issues that other forms of injuries do not have. The best way to prepare for these complications is to consult an attorney with experience in handling car crashes. Consider checking out a firm like Walsh Fewkes Sterba.