As a driver in central California, you may have seen a little of everything on our roads. With farms and ranches dotting the landscape of the fertile Central Valley it’s not a surprise to see horses and cows wandering across the road. These big animals can certainly do a lot of damage and even cause serious injuries in car collisions.
But you may not have realized how many pig farms are in our valley (or maybe you did notice the smell). When those pigs are on the loose they can do a lot of damage to a car and the people inside it. Millions of pigs are raised in California each year and they can bust through a fence or escape in transport and end up in the path of your vehicle.
Seeking Assistance After a Pig Accident Injury
You probably haven’t thought of what you’d do if you struck a pig in the road. It’s not something people take the time to consider, but it does happen in busy agricultural areas spanning Tulare, King, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Kern, Fresno, and Stanislaus counties. Pretty much every corner of Central Valley.
A farm pig can weigh anywhere from 300-800lbs and present a very solid obstacle to your vehicle. If you or a family member suffer a serious injury after a collision with livestock, please talk with Maison Law serving all of Central Valley. We offer a no-obligation and absolutely free first consultation.
You may have been hurt through no fault of your own, but farm owners and operators often try to avoid responsibility for the accidents their animals cause. Insurance companies representing these farms will also be working to get you out the door with as little compensation as possible. Let us represent you and make sure you receive the support that’s only fair for everything you suffer during recovery.
Pig Farming Traffic Dangers in the Central Valley
It may not seem like something to worry over, but it’s important to remember just how big agriculture is in Central Valley. Livestock roams pastures on farms big and small, often on both sides of the road no matter where you are and the time of day.
Pork producers are a huge part of the economic landscape locally and that means livestock is constantly on the move either roaming around or being trucked from place to place.
The Sacramento Bee reported that there are an estimated 7,000 highway crashes a year involving large animals including wildlife and livestock. They also found that these accidents cost Californians an estimated $232 million in property damage, death, and injury expenses.
Common Injuries in Livestock Collisions
A collision involving farm animals can do more than just dent a fender. Large animals like horses and cows weigh a ton or more and the results of an impact with them can be much like striking another vehicle. Livestock like pigs are also threats to go airborne over a hood and smash a windshield endangering everyone sitting inside.
Drivers and passengers can be severely hurt in these collisions and the common injuries seen in emergency rooms are similar to those seen in head-on collisions with vehicles.
These are some of the most common injuries in crashes with animals:
- Head and Brain injuries: A blow to the head on a car door, dash, or seat can easily cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs cause mental confusion and slurred speech and many other scary symptoms. A dangerous skull fracture is also possible and could involve bleeding of the brain.
- Other Fractures: Arms, legs, and ribs, and the chest can all suffer broken bones. Collarbones are also commonly fractured. The bones in the face are also vulnerable after an impact with a steering wheel or when something comes through the windshield in a frontal impact.
- Neck injuries: Thoracic Spine Injury (whiplash) can severely restrict movement. The pain can be extreme and involve the sensation of pins and needles sticking you. Dizziness or vertigo are other symptoms.
- Soft tissue injuries: Internal damage is common in head-on collisions when the car is stopped suddenly but the body continues in motion. This tissue connecting organs will suffer damage. Impacts will affect muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Airbag dangers: Airbags can protect you in a crash with an animal, but they can also cause their own specific injuries. Severe burns are possible and malfunctions can send debris through the vehicle.
As with any accident, permanent disfigurement, permanent disability, amputation, and paralysis can result. Disfigurement is especially likely when an animal is knocked from the ground and sent into a vehicle to unleash pieces of a windshield on victims.
A disability can require months of therapy while learning a new way of life. Medical equipment and even training for a new job can make a large financial investment necessary.
Are Farmers Responsible When Livestock Causes Car Accidents?
While it seems like a clear case of liability when a farmer’s animals are where they shouldn’t be and cause accidents, it’s actually a complex issue. Pig farmers, ranchers, and property owners are protected in California and aren’t immediately held at fault when an animal wanders into a road. You are expected to travel at safe enough speeds to always be able to avoid anything suddenly in the road, but there are exceptions.
To hold a farm owner or operator liable for your damage and your injuries, you’ll need help proving there was negligence on their part. Circumstances above and beyond just an animal breaking out of a fence must be shown.
An attorney working on your case will be trying to prove that the farm involved has a poor safety and maintenance record. An investigation into the agricultural company may show that other motorists have been hurt by their animals. A careless mistake could have been made in the herding and transport of pigs that led to your collision.
Farmers are covered by insurance like any homeowner or driver and that coverage is intended to help victims who get hurt and suffer financial losses. Yet, it’s often necessary to fight for even basic coverage to help with your medical bills and lost wages at work while you heal.
Contact a California Livestock and Car Accident Lawyer
After striking livestock, like a pig, and getting seriously hurt please contact attorney Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law serving Central Valley and all regions of California. Mr. Gasparian works to protect victims in cities like Turlock, Visalia, Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, Madera, Modesto, and surrounding counties.
The cost of proper medical care and your financial recovery should not be left in your lap. Reach out to Maison Law for a free case evaluation and learn about the dangers of dealing with insurance agents representing farmers and their parent companies. They’ll be looking to provide as little support as possible, but with our guidance, you can secure the compensation you need to get back on your feet again.