Car Crashes Caused by Animals in California
By Scott Glovsky on March 31st, 2018 in Personal Injury
Car crashes caused by animals happen in California all the time, but they do not always happen between two vehicles. In some cases, when a driver hits an animal in the road, only one vehicle is involved. What is a driver supposed to do when they hit an animal?
In the case of car crashes caused by animals that are wild animals, there is often very little that can be done. Insurance companies will usually only cover the costs of damage if the driver carries comprehensive car insurance. This type of insurance is not included in the liability insurance that all California drivers are required to carry, and not all drivers choose to spend the extra money to purchase it.
When the animal hit is someone’s pet, the owner of the animal will often be found at fault for the accident. California law states that pet owners must be in control of their animal at all times, particularly when that animal is not on the owner’s property.
In many car crashes caused by animals, livestock has made its way onto the road. While the state will often still find the owner of the livestock to be liable for the accident, the animal’s owner may have a case if they choose to contest that decision. This is due largely to the confusing language found in the California Food and Agriculture Code.
Within this code is Section 16902, which states that a livestock owner will be found negligent for allowing their livestock to escape if there were buildings, fences, or sidewalks separating the roadway from the property. But further on in the code, in Section 16904, it also states that livestock owners will not automatically be assumed to be negligent or at fault for any collision caused by their animals.
Livestock can do a great deal of damage to a vehicle, particularly cattle that can weigh over 1,000 pounds. They can also cause serious injuries to drivers and passengers in vehicles, which could cost a great deal in medical expenses and extensive time lost from work. For these reasons, livestock owners may not want to admit they are liable, and they may hire an attorney familiar with the Food and Agriculture Code in California to help them win their case.
Hiring an Attorney
There is little an accident victim can do when they get into a car accident caused by wildlife, they should always hire an attorney if an accident is caused by someone’s pet or livestock. These cases, in which another person could be held liable, can become complicated if the owner of the animal decides to fight the claim made by the accident victim. An attorney who knows the law can work hard to get a positive outcome for their client.
Speak with a lawyer to learn more about the legal action a person can take regarding car crashes caused by animals.