Georgia Attorneys for Car Accident Injuries Involving Unsecured Livestock


April 03, 2018

Montlick & Associates, Georgia Auto Wreck Attorneys Explain Liability for Livestock Crashes

Much of Georgia's population proudly works in the farming industry, and much of the state's area is farmland. Approximately 9.6 million acres of comprise farmland in Georgia and the average farm size is 228 acres. Additionally, the state of Georgia boasts about 42,000 individual farms, with 17,000 farms dedicated to raising livestock such as beef cattle and dairy cows. Farms in Georgia house other livestock such as horses, llamas, and pigs.

Occasionally, livestock can get free from their corrals and break through fencing, where the freed animals can enter the road and unfortunately get struck by passing cars, motorcycles, and even bicyclists. Crashes between large animals such as cows, bulls, and horses can cause tremendous damage to the vehicle that hits the animal. Also, drivers may react to the presence of an animal on the road where the sudden appearance could force the driver to take aggressive evasive action. Oversteering and overcorrecting can cause a roll-over crash or could throw the vehicle off of the road into a tree, fence, boulder, or another object like another car or pedestrian. Crashes of this nature could result in very serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of the vehicle.

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, understand the perils that Georgia drivers face on the roads. The dangers increase when animals are allowed to run free on the street in violation of Georgia law. Montlick & Associates' animal crash lawyers pursue the owners of the animals and other parties responsible for your injuries, lost wages, as well as your pain and suffering.

Animal Owner Liability

Georgia law is clear on who is liable for damages. The owner of the livestock is responsible for keeping livestock from entering the road. Georgia Code §4-3-3 imposes a duty on the owner of the livestock to make sure that the animals do not stray or walk upon the public roads and ways of the state. Furthermore, the animal owner may not allow his or her animal to tread upon another person's property without the property owner's permission. Any person who suffers injuries from a collision with a stray animal could be eligible for damages from the animal's owner.

The question of who is an owner according to Georgia law can be a close one. However, the answer to the question is fundamental because the owner of the animal is normally responsible for damages. The party merely housing the animal might not be the primary party responsible for injuries. However, the facts of the case might turn the custodian of the animal into a de facto owner under Georgia law.

The principles of negligence under Georgia law could impose liability on more than one person. Two or more entities responsible for the injuries of another are joint tortfeasors. Joint tortfeasors are liable for the damages their actions cause to the plaintiff. 

How Does Livestock Escape from their Owner?

Broken fences, open corrals, faulty locks and dilapidated barns contribute to the livestock getting free. The landowner has a duty to make sure that all of the enclosures are in good repair and strong enough to contain the animals roaming the land. Farmhands could contribute to the animal's escape as well. While it could be an intentional act, the more likely scenario is that the farmhand spooked the animals or forgot to lock a gate.

An Experienced Lawyer Could Make a Difference for You.

Insurance companies may balk at paying a claim involving a collision with livestock, and will likely take every action they deem necessary to minimize the plaintiff's claim or limit liability altogether. While insurance companies have a duty to indemnify their insured, they can steadfastly maintain that their client is not responsible for the injuries suffered by the victims in a crash with livestock. 

Put Our Law Firm's Over 34 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

If you have been injured in any type of accident caused by negligence, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty-four years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at Montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour live chat.

Sources:

Cited within and

https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/agriculture-georgia-overview

https://www.irmi.com/docs/default-source/afis-handouts/loose-livestock-liabilities-and-risk-management.pdf?sfvrsn=14

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.