One person is in the hospital after a cow wandered onto Highway 281 and caused two separate car crashes at almost the exact same time.
The collisions took place in the early morning hours near the intersection of 281 and Guest Road. According to police, a southbound Mustang driver collided with the cow near the center of the highway. The Mustang came to a sudden halt as the cow catapulted over the car. Shortly thereafter, a Jeep SUV hit the disabled cow who was still in the road. That vehicle rolled at least three times before eventually coming to rest on a grassy median. The driver was rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries, but is expected to survive.
The cow was pronounced dead at the scene; neither the driver’s name nor the bovine owner’s name was released.
Landowner Duty in Vehicle-Animal Collisions
Especially in some of the more rural areas of South Central Texas, vehicle-animal collisions are not uncommon. In fact, hundreds of motorists collide with animals every year; many of them are rushed to the emergency room and 200 of these victims die.
Many times, these crashes involve large animals, most commonly deer. In other cases, smaller animals like dogs, rabbits, or squirrels cause drivers to swerve and lose control of their vehicles. In either case, the private or government landowner may be legally responsible for the victim’s’ damages.
It is a given that nearly all domesticated animals belong to somebody. Most cities have leash and fence laws to prevent these animals from running unattended into the street. While rural areas do not have such laws, at least for the most part, the owners have a duty to control their animals in such a way as to prevent auto collisions and other incidents.
In other situations, the local, state, or federal government tracks animals for various purposes. An argument could be made that, by doing so, these governments have accepted at least some legal responsibility for the animals themselves, or at least for the land that they inhabit.
In either case, the defendant or insurance company would likely argue that the driver assumed the risk of colliding with a wild animal by traveling in an area known for such a risk. That is why “Beware of Deer” and other signs are quite commonplace, especially in the Hill Country.
Auto collisions are almost never random occurrences. For a free consultation with attorneys who work hard to find the party responsible for your injuries and make that person or entity pay damages, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney. We do not charge upfront legal fees in a negligence case.