Do I get any compensation if I hit a cow on an open range road in the middle of the night?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do I get any compensation if I hit a cow on an open range road in the middle of the night?

I was driving home at 25 mph at 9:30 p.m. and then I saw something that I couldn’t tell what it was, I thought it was a person so I just hit the breaks and drive to the side. They were 3 black cows on the middle of the road so I hit one and kill it with the impact. So I called 911 and they send a sherriff and he came and make a report and called the tow truck because he said it was procedure, I had to pay the tow truck $125 even though I didn’t ask for it and didnt use his service. Now my car has a bent hood, the power stearing pump

broke and I think some hose broke on the alternator. The insurance won’t pay anything because I just pay the


Asked on December 28, 2018 under Accident Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether the cow's owner was negligent, or unreasonably careless, or not, since liability is based on being at fault in some way. Some examples:
1) The owner lives near the road and does not fence his cows in: that is careless due to the relatively high likelihood of an accident, and he would be liable.
2) The owner lives near the road and fences the cows, but forget to close the gate--that is careless, too, and could make him liable.
3) The owner lives near the road and the cows were properly fenced in, but something beyond the owner's control happened (e.g. they panicked and rushed the fence and pushed through it; a tree fell on the fence or car hit it, opening a gap; teenagers as a prank let the cows out; etc.)--in this case, since he did nothing wrong and took the pracautions he should, he is not liable.
4) The cows were unfenced, but the owner lives far from the road--so far that you'd never expect even unfenced cows to go to the road--and it was an anomaly that they were there; in this case, since a collision on the road is unlikely, the owner would have done nothing wrong in not fencing them in and would not be liable.
In cases 1) or 2), you may be able to get compensation, but if the owner or his insurer refuses to voluntarily pay, you'd have to sue for the money.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption