You are on your way home from work after what could be considered a decent day, windows down, feeling the breeze, as you cruise on over a hill. The same hill that you crest, then coast down every day of the week. Except this time something is different. You top that hill to begin your descent and notice a large brown cow in the middle of the road. You slam on your brakes, but the tires squeal and the momentum pushes you forward until you slam into that cow. Your next memory is waking up in a hospital. Then, you find out your vehicle is totaled and you are left with multiple severe injuries.
So now what? How do you hold a cow liable? Well, you don’t. In the state of Colorado, you hold the cow’s owner liable if certain factors were at play. According to the Colorado Cattle Association, Colorado is a “fence out” state. This means that livestock owners are not required to fence a property. They have the choice of letting their animals roam freely as long as those animals do not cause injury or harm to another party, including damage to personal property.
A plaintiff in a livestock auto accident case must be able to prove that a livestock owner was negligent, thereby resulting in his or her animal to be on the road. An example of this would be a fence that ran alongside a road to be found in disrepair. If the owner had knowledge of the problem, but did not fix the fence, then negligence would be considered. While fences are not required, a livestock owner would still be liable for keeping animals out of the roadway.
In 1993, a Douglas County, Colorado jury awarded the victim of a livestock auto accident $2.35 million dollars. That case involved cattle on a state highway. If you or someone you know have been the victim of a livestock auto accident, consult with an attorney to determine eligibility for financial compensation and other damages.