Farm on the fast lane: the dangers of livestock on motorways

Two cows in a field
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British motorways are designed for speed and efficiency, but they can turn into danger zones when unexpected visitors wander onto the tarmac. Farm animals, from sheep and cows to horses and pigs, pose a serious threat to drivers, passengers, and themselves when they stray onto these high-speed roads.

The risks are high

Collisions with large animals can be devastating. Due to the size and weight difference between a vehicle and a farm animal, the outcome is almost always catastrophic for the animal. Cars can swerve out of control, causing pile-ups and endangering other motorists. The emotional trauma for those involved in such accidents can be significant.

How do animals get there?

There are several ways farm animals can find themselves on motorways. Gaps in fencing, damaged underpasses, and even deliberate breaches can create escape routes. Animals may also be spooked by loud noises or unfamiliar sights, leading them to stampede onto the motorway.

Can I make a personal injury claim if I have been injured by animals on the road?

Farm animals will always belong to someone and it is their owner’s responsibility to keep them safely enclosed, with regular maintenance to their fencing and ensuring underpasses are secure to prevent their animals from finding their way to where they can pose a danger to the public. Where farm animals are being held in fields close to roads, it is even more important to carry out the regular checks and maintenance.

We recently acted for the driver and three passengers of a car that was travelling along the M5. It was dark and unknown to them a cow had escaped from a nearby farm and made its way onto the motorway, where the car and the cow collided. The driver was able to swerve out of its lane, and thankfully avoid other vehicles, but the collision still resulted in various degrees of injuries to the passengers as well as the death of the cow. In addition to their physical injuries, all four passengers suffered significant psychological injury as a result of the shocking event, with some of them being diagnosed with PTSD.

Julia Prior, the personal injury solicitor that represented them, has significant experience in bringing claims for injuries involving animals and was able to work closely with the farmer’s insurance company to secure them compensation and enable them to access both physical and psychological therapies to aid their recovery.

This may sound like a freak accident but unfortunately it is not uncommon for cattle to find their way onto roads.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a road traffic collision involving a farm animal one of our personal injury experts may be able to help you claim compensation to help with your recovery. Compensation can not only cover the cost of therapies and your loss of earnings if you need to take time off work, but also help you purchase equipment or pay for any home adaptations you may require after a serious injury. It is also there to help compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced. To talk to one of our experts call 0800 44 8488 or fill in our contact form here so we can call you back at a time convenient to you.

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