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Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?
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Posted 12/31/2011 15:59 (#2134923)
Subject: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

perryton, tx
My herd of wheat pasture calves got out last nite and were involved in 2 seperate accidents (15 miles apart!) where someone hit them on the highway. Luckily, no one was injured but the 1 vehicle i saw appeared to have at least the front end totaled. The first occured on a state highway, the second on a farm to market road. What i'm wondering is what my liability is in this situation. I was told that because of open range laws that i am not liable unless it can be proved that i was negligent. I'm pretty sure that my insurance isn't going to pay the damages so i'm not sure what i need to do. Any input appreciated.
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Posted 12/31/2011 16:06 (#2134934 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

Why won't your insurance pay? Because of open range laws? I have liability coverage specifically for the situation that you describe. Hope that you don't get sued.
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Posted 12/31/2011 16:14 (#2134945 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

webster, north dakota
I have seen that happen in North Dakota 3 different times, and the liability was on the driver. Owner of animals was responsible for their own loss, but no other liability. The one situation the drivers family did sue and did not even get a settlement from the animal owners insurance.
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Posted 12/31/2011 16:40 (#2134985 - in reply to #2134945)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

kuna, Id
Father in law hit a cow in Oregon about eight years ago. It was a bad wreck, totaled the car, killed the cow, took out a bunch of fence and a power pole, and he was liable for everything. His insurance had to put all back as it was, even paid for the cow. That is how range law works! Now if you are not in open range completely different story.
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Posted 12/31/2011 16:47 (#2134999 - in reply to #2134985)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

north east Nebraska
your insurance will pay if you are liable. Then even if you are not liable, your insurance might pay rather then going to court. We are open range here in Nebraska. We had this happen and there insurance company got our insurance company to settle.
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Posted 12/31/2011 16:57 (#2135011 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: RE: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?


May have to contact the next of kin and put up a sign
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Posted 12/31/2011 17:32 (#2135080 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

Lubbock, Texas
first that sucks that happened

second.....15 miles wow talk about a go getter

third I hate to say this in a way, but you might look at the police reports for DWI checks ect one because it could help you from taking a big financial hit and two because to be honest even at night I think it would be pretty hard to miss a cow on a state road in your area unless it was in a very chance spot

I know cows can move, but it is not like they are Deer waiting for the head lights to go crazy

even at night on a state highway I would think hard to miss seeing even if a black cow
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Posted 12/31/2011 17:33 (#2135083 - in reply to #2135011)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

had the same thing happen several years ago. almost certain there are no openrange laws in texas, or maybe just the county we are in. In one incident a milk hauler hit and killed 6. Front of the truck was creamed but the driver was not injured. The drivers insurance company paid for the damages as well as our cattle. our insurance is with farm bureau, as they are pretty good to have in these sort of situations.
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Sheep Herder
Posted 12/31/2011 17:36 (#2135089 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Talk to PETA.


If an open range state, the driver collects from his insurance.  If any animals were killed, talked to PETA, they may want to erect a memorial.  ( I don't have the link, but these idiots actually want to do this.)

Edited by Sheep Herder 12/31/2011 17:38
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Posted 12/31/2011 17:40 (#2135094 - in reply to #2135080)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

Black cattle are IMPOSSIBLE to see at night. I almost creamed one in the road, luckily she looked at me just in time.
I have liability insurance just for that possibility. Its not that expensive and I sleep much better with it. I don't trust courts and I do believe this is a sue happy generation.
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Posted 12/31/2011 17:45 (#2135100 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: RE: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

West Texas
Going to have more to do with State Highway and Farm Market, as well as open range. Got into this a while back over crops and a hot wire in some court cases was not acceptable as a measure to hold back cattle. But I would be calling my agent ASAP.
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Posted 12/31/2011 17:52 (#2135121 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: RE: Maybe This Helps

Interesting question, so, a quick Google brought up this from the Texas Young Lawyers Association:

Read the whole thing - it's not that long - but from the last paragraph:

In summary, Texas is still open range. However, U.S. and state highways in Texas are closed range. Areas where a stock law has passed are effectively closed range. Thus, application of the two statutory exceptions quickly moves Texas from an "open range" state, to a "generally open, but not everywhere, and probably not where the accident occurred - range" state.

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Southern Farmer
Posted 12/31/2011 17:56 (#2135127 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: RE: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

West Texas

Farm Bureau ins has a policy just for this. Well worth the small cost.

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Posted 12/31/2011 18:17 (#2135175 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

You can somewhat figure out liability by who maintains the fences. I'd guess your state roads are maintained by the state and therefore it is their responsibility, minus someone leaving a gate open of course. Our county maintains no fence so we are either open range (cows have right of way) or we put a fence up and are then liable. Every time we had one hit on the open range part of a road the offenders always fled so no one to go after just SOL, oddly none of them stupid enough to try and sue. Solution is build a fence because even though the cows have the right of way the idiot drivers don't know or care.

If you think you can see a black cow at night you have never run across one before.
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Posted 12/31/2011 20:31 (#2135458 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

west central Iowa
I'm in Iowa and it used to be the livestock owner was liable for all the damage, but a few years ago a friend of mine had a cow get out and got hit. It ended up in court and the livestock owner was not held liable There was a case I think involving a horse they used for a precedent and it was something like if the animal wasn't subject to a leash law and the livestock owner wasn't negligent then he wasn't liable.
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Posted 12/31/2011 21:05 (#2135509 - in reply to #2135458)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

whitesville new york
The neighbor and I both had a animal each get hit. We both have The same insurance agent. Our insurance covered everything even got a check for the cow that got hot but died a few days later. Neighbors animal survived but messed up a s 10 pertty good. A semi hit mine luckly just caught the corner of the hood and cracked the windshield.
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aces and eights
Posted 12/31/2011 21:23 (#2135541 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

tx panhandle
Think you are ok, other than the two hd. I know of something similar happening on hwy15. Farm liability policy wouldn't pay because the owner of the cattle knew they were loose. (three head jumped out of the loading chute and there were still two pots left to load) Car wreck and injury; they tried to sue but after the filing and bluff letter the owners attorney moved for summary judgement and the people dropped the case. Ochiltree is still an open range county. They would have to prove a history of neglect before they begin to have a leg to stand on. Take this for what its worth this is a second hand story. Sorry it happened, please let us know how it turns out.

Edited by aces and eights 12/31/2011 21:36
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Posted 12/31/2011 21:36 (#2135566 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

Texas/New Mexico Stateline
Generally most times around here it seems each party is responsible for their own property. Cattle man looses the cattle, vehicle owner takes care of the car. Right or wrong it seems to work out that way.

Last year neighbor had the whole herd get out on the state highway. Had two milk trucks meet head on about the same time they hit the cattle. Biggest mess I had ever seen. Ended up killing about 18 head, time they shot all the lame and injured ones. I never did hear how it came out $ wise. That was over in NM.
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Russ In Idaho
Posted 12/31/2011 23:14 (#2135761 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: RE:First of all you need to............

You need to gather all the information you can about the wreck. Also take pictures of your fences, area they got loose from, if somebody cut the fence or ran into it, etc.

I wouldn't talk to other people's insurance nor the people involved in wreck unless you have legal counsel and your insurance company there. Only give your information to the attending officer that investigated the wreck.

I just went through one a few years ago. We had trailed cows under a freeway underpass the day before (1000+ hd.), well a calf didn't get paired up. He ran back first, but didn't cross back under freeway. He got with another bunch of cattle, well cow went looking for calf in the night. She walked fence till she found where the fence was cut open to give access from highway to open range (BLM ground). It was hidden from view right by a rest area. So cow crosses road trying to get back to calf, well a FedEx semi pulling triples served to miss cow. He totaled the whole rig, life-flighted him to hospital.

I found cow track's going though cut fence, took pics ( you need a camera with date and time on it). I tied fence up, but called state road dept. and told them they needed to fix it. They did nothing, I then called and asked for them to please put cement barricades up to stop people from traveling that way. It took a call to state rep. to get him to yank on their chain. They finally put cement block ups and replaced ten miles of fence, it didn't meet the state's own legal fence guidelines as a legal fence. My insurance people came the next day and investigated the scene with me, we found plastic tags they put on clothing to scan at checkout counters for theft, scattered all over the crash scene. Well this turned out to be there high tech. computer equipment they claimed in wreck. We were able to call B.S. on their cargo.

I will tell you they will drag it out as long as they can if there is injury's in wreck to see what they are going to go for. I hired a lawyer to watch my insurance co. just so they didn't leave me holding the bag. Then the insurance co. lawyer took the lead. Well the driver went after the state and me for the wreck, FedEx tried to come after me from the start for trailers and cargo. They soon dropped it, when they found out it was open range I was on. I wasn't even supposed to fix any of the fence, all up to the state. I could have made them pay for my cow, but I didn't. Also insurance was ready to pay me for my cow, but I said no just cover me on this matter.

The state only had a max. of $220,000 they can pay out on a deal like this. My insurance payed out the other $30,000 to keep out of court. I wanted them to fight it all they, but because driver was registered in another county with truck and lived there a metro area the trial would have been in his county They really figured we would loose with a jury, even though we were in the state's rights. If it would have been in my county I'm sure we would have won, but they didn't want to test open range laws and risk losing them. They felt better to pay a small amount, than loose in court.

My umbrella policy covered me on this wreck, just make sure from here on out you have enough coverage for your assets. As if a person is ever hurt, they will go for all they can. Also I keep try to keep a camera in all vehicles (disposable ones at least). Never know when you will need it, that's were the time and date thing comes in real handy. I would liked to contacted the driver and check on him, but I felt it wasn't wise to do at that point, if you do ever talk to someone don't ever give out any information as to what you know. Tell them your insurance company is working on it, you might slip up and they will use it against you.

Will tell you I had Farm Bureau insurance, they treated me right. And never raised my premiums from this.

Good luck.
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Posted 1/1/2012 11:37 (#2136335 - in reply to #2134923)
Subject: Re: Cattle hit by cars-what do i do?

southeast iowa
Few years ago had fellow hit cow on Friday night at 1 am. Went out to check on things,sheriff deputy tells me nobody is hurt,guy does not want to go to hospital,everything is fine. Couple monthes later get certified letter being sued by guy for hospital expenses plus guy is now disabled. My insurance company took over and took care of things. Finally ended up settling case right before it went to trial. Do not know why part of settlement,insurance company could not tell me what settlement was. Looking back should have insisted he go to hospital and checked out (DWI) happens again will do things diifferent.
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