When Livestock and Cars Collide, Liability Depends on Location

A recent collision on Hwy 97 near Madras, Oregon in which 5 semi-trucks killed 44 cows in the dark brought the issue of car-livestock crashes to regional attention. Oregon Personal Injury | Animal Accident Attorneys in Bend Portland Many motorists were surprised to hear that the truck drivers were liable for the animals’ deaths. Luckily, none of the truck drivers were injured. But, the accident has left some Central Oregon drivers wondering if they could end up in a similar accident and situation.

According to ODOT statistics, between 2005 and 2009, there were 88 accident involving cars and livestock. Of those, about 90 percent happened at night, when large animals on the road are harder to see. Unlike the accident the truck drivers were in, drivers aren’t always responsible for the animal’s death. It all depends on whether the driver is in a livestock district or on open range. In a livestock
district, defined by ORS 607, it is unlawful for livestock to run at large, and owners are responsible for maintaining control of their animals. In a recent accident near Eugene, Oregon, a woman filed a lawsuit over a car collision with a horse that happened in a livestock district, charging the horse’s owner with negligence for letting his horse wander into the road.

If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident with loose livestock, you may need an personal injury attorney to represent you and help you get the insurance claim you deserve, even if it means going to court, as in the case of the couple involved in the auto accident near Eugene. The Personal Injury Attorneys at Dwyer Williams Dretke are experienced and ready to represent you in any kind of auto accident case. Call us at 541-617-0555.