Residents of Illinois who live in rural areas are likely used to seeing cattle, pigs or horses on a fairly regular basis, whether they graze in fields next door or we see them behind fences as we drive through parts of Illinois. In general, these animals present no danger to anyone; however, if they are improperly secured or allowed to roam free, they can end up causing serious damage.
A recent article on our website explored how livestock can endanger farm workers and others in a variety of environments. That article can be viewed by clicking here. The article calls out multiple common risks associated with livestock, but in this post we want to explore how free-roaming livestock can affect motorists specifically.
As motorists, we may be warned about deer crossings; and we are not all that surprised to see a skunk or other wild animal in front of our vehicle. But we typically do not expect to see farm animals on the road; even on rural routes.
However, it is certainly possible for a large animal like a cow, goat, horse or sheep to get loose and wander into dangerous areas.
If an accident is caused by an animal that is owned by someone, that owner can potentially be held liable for the damages resulting from a crash. This is because livestock owners are expected and legally obligated to keep animals adequately restrained. If an animal gets loose or an owner allows the animal to roam free, the owner can be considered negligent.
Any motor vehicle accident can result in serious damage, from property damage to injuries. Of course there is no way to prevent every single accident from occurring; but there are ways to minimize the hazards on a roadway, and this includes preventing livestock from wandering near busy roads.
As we mentioned in our article, in the event of an accident caused by or involving a farm animal, injured parties may want to consider speaking with an attorney to discuss whether compensation is appropriate and what legal steps must be taken.