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Collisions with stray livestock: An unexpected hazard

Readers familiar with the history of the United States will remember that there have been times when things got tense. Cattle ranchers in Colorado and in other states who felt they had a legacy claim to grazing land didn't take kindly to homesteaders and sheepherders moving in. There were some battles.

Today there is relative harmony. Major metropolitan areas coexist near agricultural areas. Cattle ranchers and sheepherders have worked out their differences. Colorado is now home to those who raise cows, horses, sheep and other forms of livestock, any of which can, on occasion, escape from their confines and become a hazard on the road.

If wandering livestock contributes to a car accident, victims have a right to seek accountability and compensation from those responsible. In many cases, the livestock owner has insurance on his or her animals. But that doesn't mean that obtaining the full measure of relief that is due will be as simple as filing a claim. Insurers don't make money by making payouts. Rather, their profit comes by minimizing their obligation.

Individuals may well go through their entire lives without ever having a run-in with any type of livestock, regardless of what state they live in. Colorado residents might be slightly more accustomed to the situations that can result in serious, sometimes deadly, accidents. Visitors are more likely to be totally unaware of what rights they have and what obligations livestock owners have in regard to vehicle safety.

This is one among many reasons it's wise after an accident to consult with legal counsel with experience in this area of law.

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