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What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in California Due to a Crash Involving a Large Animal

One of the many benefits of living in Northern California is the area’s diversity. You have major urban centers like San Francisco and Oakland but, within a relatively short distance, you can encounter nature’s beauty in rural areas. This means lots of things, not the least of which is that the area is home to lots of wild animals, in addition to livestock on farms and ranches. If you have been injured in a vehicle accident involving a large, non-domesticated animal, then the accident may have been the result of the owner’s failure to keep that animal off the road, which means that the owner may owe you compensation. If you have questions about accidents like these, you should get in touch with a knowledgeable San Mateo vehicle accident lawyer for the answers you need.

Recently, Palo Alto Online reported on the results of a study performed by UC-Davis. The university’s report revealed that the single deadliest stretch of highway for wildlife animals is right here in our area: Interstate 280 between San Bruno and Cupertino. The hundreds of accidents that have occurred along that stretch of road have resulted in nearly $6 million of damage.

In the case of a wildlife-animal-versus-vehicle accident, the driver’s main avenue of recourse for the damages he/she suffered might be his/her auto insurer. Wildlife animals, by definition, have no owners, meaning that no person or entity could have been negligent and therefore liable to the driver.

Of course, wildlife-versus-vehicles accidents are far from the only sort of crashes that involves vehicles and large animals. Sometimes, the animal involved is a livestock animal that got away from its proper home.

These things occur with some frequency. Back in August, a wayward bull found itself on the I-15 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga in Southern California. The animal had escaped the owner’s trailer as the owner traveled down the freeway. Fortunately, the only injury was minor “road rash” suffered by the bull.

However, these kinds of incidents can be deadly serious. Last month, a motorcyclist died in Texas after he collided with a cow and the impact threw him from his motorcycle. In July, an Arizona couple died after their Jeep Wrangler hit a cow on U.S. Highway 40 in western Kansas, causing their vehicle to roll over several times.

What California Law Says About Crashes With Livestock

Here in California, state law says that owners of livestock must not “intentionally or negligently allow livestock to be upon or wander onto a public highway if both sides of the road are separated from fences, walls, hedges, sidewalks, curbs, lawns, or buildings.”

The law also says that there is no automatic presumption of liability against a livestock owner if that owner’s animal is involved in a vehicle accident. That doesn’t mean you cannot win a lawsuit against a livestock owner; it simply means that your case will need to have sufficient proof to establish all of the elements of negligence and nothing will be presumed against the owner.

In other words, you’ll need proof that shows that the owner engaged in some sort of action or inaction that was not reasonable and that your injuries flowed from that inaction. There are lots of different kinds of actions or inactions that can accomplish this for you. They can include an owner’s failure to put up proper fences, gates, barns, and so forth to keep his/her livestock contained on his/her property. It could also mean an unreasonable failure to maintain and/or repair his/her fences, gates, barns, etc. in a proper working condition such that the animals are not free to escape.

In an auto-versus-livestock crash, much like most vehicle accident cases, you’ll need a seasoned legal pro to do the in-depth investigation and discovery necessary to get all of the evidence required to make your case. Count on the helpful San Mateo auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos to be the powerful advocate you need. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website. We’ve been helping injured people and their families in San Mateo and the surrounding area for decades, and we’re ready to get started helping you.

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