Driving on Colorado’s rural roads may seem relatively safe. After all, there are few vehicles to pose a threat, and the roads are often straight. Yet, even these sometimes-desolate roads can prove to be dangerous. This is because Colorado is an open range state, meaning that livestock owners are not required to fence their properties to keep their animals there. In fact, the law only requires property owners to put up fences if they want to prevent property damage from others’ livestock that are free-ranging.
With livestock on the loose across Colorado, motorists are at risk of hitting a wide variety of animals, including cattle and sheep. The result can be sheer devastation. An individual’s car can be severely damaged, but the driver and his or her passengers can also suffer extensive harm. Head and neck injuries are very real possibilities, as are other physical injuries such as lacerations, broken bones and torn ligaments. Because of these livestock auto accidents, victims can be left with physical limitations, emotional harm and financial losses from medical expenses and lost wages.
Fortunately, Colorado recognizes the dangers posed to motorists by free-ranging livestock. This is why the law indicates that livestock owners can be held criminally liable for knowingly allowing their livestock to graze or roam on or near a road that is protected by appropriate fencing. A violation of this law can help serve the basis of a personal injury lawsuit, too, in hopes of recovering compensation for damages imposed upon an accident victim.
Coloradoans who own livestock have a duty to keep their livestock away from dangerous areas such as roads. Therefore, those who are hurt in an accident involving livestock need to carefully consider the circumstances at hand, as they may be entitled to compensation.