You’re driving along a stretch of road you travel almost every day when, suddenly, you round a corner and see a small herd of cattle crossing the road not more than 50 feet ahead of you. You slam on the brakes and crank the wheel to the right in hopes of missing the animals, but in doing so you run off the road into a ditch.
This is just one example of a livestock accident. While many livestock accidents involve motorists crashing into animals, some are single-vehicle accidents caused by a driver’s attempt to avoid the animal. In either case, drivers injured in a California livestock accident may have a claim for compensation.
Who Is Responsible for a Livestock Accident?
Farmers, ranchers, and pet owners have a legal duty to control their animals. Part of this duty requires owners to secure their animals safely on their property. If an animal escapes its enclosure, the animal’s owner may be liable for any resulting injuries.
However, in some cases, the owner of the animal does not own the property. In this situation, the duty to maintain the fence may rest with the property owner rather than the animal owner.
Regardless, livestock should not be in the road, and when they are, someone is usually to blame.
How Much Are California Livestock Accident Settlements?
The amount of a California livestock accident settlement primarily depends on two factors. First, the extent of the accident victim’s injuries—generally, the more serious a motorist’s injuries, the greater the settlement award. When assessing injuries after a livestock accident, it is essential to consider both your economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are those out-of-pocket expenses you must pay as a result of the accident, including:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Decrease in earning capacity, and
- Property damage.
The other consideration is whether the driver shared blame for the collision. For example, if a motorist was speeding at the time they struck an animal, a judge or jury may find that the driver was also negligent. In these situations, the driver can still pursue a claim against a negligent animal owner. However, under California’s pure comparative negligence law, an accident victim’s damages award will be reduced by their own percentage of fault. For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages but the jury found you were 20% at fault, your total recovery would be $80,000.
Learn More About How to Pursue Livestock Accident Settlements by Scheduling a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was recently injured in an accident involving livestock, you may be entitled to financial compensation. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., our dedicated team of injury attorneys understands the challenges you are going through and is here to help. We make a difference in our clients’ lives by promoting healing through compassionate advocacy. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, give Silva Injury Law, Inc. a call. You can also reach us through our online contact form. Our lawyers proudly represent clients through our four conveniently located offices in Turlock, Modesto, Merced, and Monterey.