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A nightmare for drivers traveling on roads in rural Colorado is hitting a more than 1,500-pound bull. Hitting cattle can total your vehicle and cause serious injuries. After receiving proper medical care, you may find yourself asking who is responsible for the accident.

While the court system decides final responsibility, we can explore the laws which govern cattle accidents in Colorado. This blog post will examine what laws livestock owners must follow and the rules that determine car accident liability.

Colorado is an “open range” state which means that cattle can graze on public and unfenced private property. To protect drivers, Colorado Statute 35-46-105 states that livestock is not allowed on to “any incorporated or unincorporated municipality, lane, road, or public highway” where there is a lawful fence barring access.

Owners of livestock have a legal responsibility to remove animals from the roads quickly. If you spot a cow on the road contact the sheriff and the livestock owner if available.

In Colorado, comparative negligence laws may split liability between parties involved in an accident. To determine responsibility for a cattle accident, we must judge if the actions of the cow owners or the driver caused the accident.

Even if an animal is on the road illegally, drivers must still try to avoid it. If a driver gets into an accident while checking their phone or reading a map, they may be partially responsible. A rancher might be negligent for allowing a cow onto the street and not containing their animal.

It can be difficult to determine who owns a cow and if they took the proper precautions to secure their fences. An experienced attorney can help you determine who owns an animal and investigate the details of your accident. A lawyer can also help you negotiate with insurance companies and make protect your rights against wealthy cattle ranchers.