So you’ve hit a cow in your vehicle….now what?
There are certain challenges that motorists driving through the French Quarter, the Garden District, the Central Business District or most any part of New Orleans must face. Heavy traffic and numerous intersections can lead to rear-end crashes, turn accidents and distracted driving collisions. At the same time, there are certain possible hazards that Louisianans driving through New Orleans may be free from, but that may pose a real threat once you get away from the city.
Livestock in the road is one such example. While you may not have to dodge a cow on Tulane Avenue in Mid-City, that doesn’t mean that a collision with livestock can’t happen to you. When it does, will you know how to go about protecting yourself legally to get the compensation you need for the injuries you suffer in such a crash? For these and other auto accident situations, be sure you’ve secured legal representation form an experienced Louisiana injury attorney to help you get what you deserve.
Take, as an example, the case of M.C. M.C. was a volunteer firefighter in Richland Parish who received a call about a fire late one night. With his vehicle unavailable, the firefighter sped to the fire in his parents’ Chrysler Pacifica. Going 75 along a Louisiana state highway, the firefighter slammed into a black cow. The impact sent the Chrysler into the ditch on the west side of the road, and the cow into the ditch on the east side.
M.C. suffered significant injuries in the crash and sued for the harm he incurred. When you are injured in a vehicle-versus-livestock-animal accident, there are several ways that you can pursue compensation. Generally, most all of these will involve asserting a claim (or claims) that the owner of the animal was negligent. The owners can be negligent in many different ways, and it is often useful to assert as many different types of negligence as you can viably argue. In M.C.’s case, he claimed that the owners were negligent by failing to keep a proper lookout over their animals, failing to maintain control over their animals, failing to monitor the conditions of their pasture’s electric fence and failing to make appropriate repairs in their fence.
Another thing that is essential is having proof that the animal you hit belonged to the people or entity that you’ve sued. That’s why it is often very important to be sure you speak to everyone who was at the accident scene immediately after it happened. For example, one of M.C.’s witnesses was a local deputy who testified that he heard one of the owners tell the state trooper at the scene that the cow in the ditch was her animal. This was very important as the owners later made as a major thrust of their defense an argument that the cow in question did not, in fact, belong to them.
Expert evidence can also help in cases like this. M.C.’s expert was a 34-year veteran of the State Police who testified as an accident reconstruction expert. He testified that, based on the deputy’s statement, the proximity of the cow to the defendants’ pasture and previous incidents of the defendants’ cows getting away and wandering into the road, the cow involved in the accident was more likely than not one of the defendants’ animals.
As a result, the trial court awarded M.C. more than $23,000 in general and special damages. That award survived on appeal, as the appeals court decided that the evidence that M.C. had given the trial court was more than enough. As the appeals court stated in its opinion, the trial court’s conclusion regarding who owned the cow (and was liable) was “well supported by the record” of evidence at trial.
Whether you are injured in a drunk-driving accident, rear-end collision or vehicle-versus-animal crash, you need capable counsel to help you get the evidence you need to get the compensation to which you are entitled under the law. For diligent and reliable representation, reach out to Cardone Law Firm. Contact us to find out more about how our skilled Louisiana injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you need.
For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
How much is my knee injury worth?, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Nov. 29, 2018
Drivers Distracted Take a Terrible Toll on Louisiana’s Roads, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Sept. 5, 2018