People who live in Colorado know that between the mountains and the plains, this state is home to a diverse population of wildlife. There are also massive farms and ranches where livestock can be found. The abundance of animal life here is awe-inspiring, but it does come with some hazards.
For instance, motorists in this state are at a very real risk of getting into an accident with an animal. So, it can be important for Colorado residents to understand who, if anyone, can be held responsible for serious accidents involving livestock.
Ranchers or farmers
Under Colorado laws, livestock owners are prohibited from allowing their animals to run at large or graze in public roads and highways. Those who fail to take the steps necessary to fence in animals or otherwise keep them away from such areas can be accountable for damages. However, it can be a legal challenge to show that the owner knew or should have known that the animals were in places they were not supposed to be.
Truckers or trucking companies
Transporting livestock can present some serious problems if the trucker, the trucking company or any other party associated with loading and securing the animals acts negligently or recklessly. In the event of a crash, animals can escape and cause serious hazards for drivers, particularly if the animals were improperly secured.
Unfortunately, there are instances in which there is no one to blame for an accident involving an animal. If the animal is wild or if it escaped without the owner knowing, then there may be no basis for negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct.
Establishing liability will be crucial in pursuing damages
In order to file a legal claim seeking compensation for the damages suffered in a serious accident, victims and their families first need to figure out who is liable. It may be a rancher or a trucker, who will likely try to deny having any responsibility and argue that no one is to blame. Some might even blame the injured party.
In order to protect yourself and pursue the damages you need and deserve, it can be critical that you discuss your case with an attorney who is familiar with the unique challenges of car accident claims involving livestock.