A member asked over 7 years ago

Livestock negligence

hit a cow on a public rd and wrote off my car, ive got the run around by insurance, kept the eartag from the cow and tracked the owner i was abused by him and threatened, the insurance wasnt concerned about the owner at 1st and wanted to settle it after the assesment, without the owner.
No sign to say Livestock on the road it was dark i was driving the speed limit the cow was on the road.
Iam very distressed i did not drive for 2 weeks i abandoned my property in that time while i wasnt confident in driving, i paid 2 weeks board im out of pocket from that, loss of the vehicle and the high excess to pay id like to get back to where i was before financially and emotionally. What are my rights?

Joseph Lee
Gold Coast Manager / Legal Practitioner at Littles Lawyers

Dear Sir/Madam

In New South Wales, unlike Queensland, there are cases where the owner of property adjoining a highway was found to be negligent in permitting an animal to stray from its property onto the highway. Gregory’s (Properties) Pty Ltd v Muir (1993) 17 MVR 86, Brown v Toohey (1994) 35 NSWLR 417.

This, however, still does not mean that the owner of cow will be found to be negligent. You must prove that the owner breached his or her duty of care (i.e. the owner did not do everything that he/she could prevent the cow from straying on road).

Suggested way forward

This type of road accident can be difficult. Therefore, I highly recommend you to seek a professional legal advice from experienced personal injury solicitors with more details.

Answered over 7 years ago   Legal disclaimer

Law Advisor Research Team
Researchers at LawAdvisor

Hi there. In NSW, the laws relating to liability for wandering livestock on public roads are not clear cut. Based on the information you provided, you may have a claim for negligence against the cattle owner, but a lot will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

To successfully sue for negligence, several key elements must be proven. You would need to prove: that the cattle owner owed you, as a road user, a duty of care; that the cattle owner breached that duty by failing to stop his cattle from wandering onto the road; and that the owner’s breach of duty caused you physical and/or mental harm. The law of negligence is particularly complex and not every type of personal injury will result in a successful claim for compensation. Many factors need to be considered, including the foreseeability of the accident, the reasonableness of taking steps to avoid the accident, and the injured person’s behaviour at the time of the accident. A personal injury lawyer can assess these factors to determine the strength of your claim.

In 2016, a NSW court awarded compensation to a driver who was injured in a road accident partly caused by cows that had wandered onto a highway. The owner of the cows had failed to maintain an adequate fence on his property that bordered the highway, despite the local council ordering him to fix the fence. The court found that the cattle owner had been negligent and was therefore liable to pay compensation to the injured driver.

It is common for farmers to take out public liability insurance that ordinarily covers incidents caused by wandering cattle. The cattle owner in your situation may be insured for this type of event, so it may be worth pursuing the claim.

Suggested way forward

Although negligence claims can be complicated, it is worth speaking to a personal injury lawyer to get a proper assessment of your legal rights and the best course of action. By pressing the “Consult a Lawyer” button, LawAdvisor can help you search for experienced lawyers and obtain fee proposals for their services. Costs for legal advice and representation will vary between providers based on experience and the scope of services.

Answered over 7 years ago   Legal disclaimer


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