Car Accidents and Fence Laws In Texas

Car accidents involving livestock can be a complex matter in Texas. As an open range state, Texas livestock owners are not obligated to fence in their animals. Texas attorneys point out that this law may differ in specific counties and is based on certain details. As a result, it can be very confusing to deal with the aftermath of an accident involving livestock. Anyone involved in this type of accident who suffered any injuries should seek the counsel of car accident attorneys. This is especially true if a person is seeking any type of compensation. Car accident lawyers can help interpret open range and fence laws and if they apply in a specific accident case.

Collisions with Animals

Texas attorneys assert that every year, thousands of accidents involving animals occur on Texas highways and result in damage, injuries, and even death. These accidents are attributed to wild animals on the roads and domestic livestock that freely roam in certain rural areas. In 2014, there were over 8,000 crashes that involved animals, with nearly 2,500 of those accidents involving domestic livestock.1 Those 2,400 plus collisions with livestock caused over 500 injuries, including 13 fatalities1. Because of stock laws, owners of livestock are not liable in many of these instances. This can leave those involved in accidents without compensation for damage and injuries other than what their own insurance companies will pay.

Open Range and Stock Laws in Texas

Car accident lawyers know that containment of livestock in Texas has been a concern since ranching began in the state, and continues to be one today. Texas has always operated as an open range state; however, stock laws have changed over time. Certain legislation allows counties to take their own stance on these laws, resulting in differences in liability from one county to another. In some areas of the state, livestock owners may not be liable for damages caused by a collision with livestock. Texas stock laws also provide certain protection for livestock owners whose animals cause accidents along state highways, if they were unaware that the animal was roaming close to traveled roads.

Challenging Stock Laws

Determining whether livestock owners are liable for injuries from accidents caused by livestock can be challenging. While legal precedent on the issue may exist in some jurisdictions, other areas do not have court rulings making it possible for car accident attorneys to prove liability. A fine line of liability may exist given state laws and local ordinances which are often very fact-specific.

Given the complexity of the application of laws and ordinances, Texas attorneys agree that anyone injured in an accident involving livestock should seek the services of car accident lawyers who are familiar with open range and stock laws. There is no doubt that free range livestock on the highway can cause deadly accidents. To be fairly compensated, anyone injured and seeking compensation as a result of this type of accident need legal representation from car accident attorneys. These experienced lawyers will carefully research Texas law and present a compelling case as to why livestock owners should be held accountable!

1TxDOT 2014 Crash Statistics


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