What to Do Right after a Livestock Accident?

If you are involved in a livestock accident, obviously, the first thing you should do is take care of yourself.  Make sure you seek all of the medical attention you need to treat all of your injuries and to get a proper diagnosis.  Your health, of course, should always be your number one priority.

That being said, with regard to a potential legal claim against the livestock owner, the moments after your accident are extremely important.  Because of the trauma experienced, both physically and psychologically, you may not be in the mood to take the initial steps of organizing and preserving your claim.  But your failure to act during these early stages may prove to be costly for your case.

The reason why this time is so crucial is because you may not have a better opportunity to secure and gather evidence.  If there is any physical, tangible evidence, you want to do what you can to preserve it.  For example, if your shirt was bloodied as a result of the livestock accident, make sure that you do not discard the shirt.  It can serve as physical evidence for your injuries.  Try to keep all physical evidence in the same condition it was in after the accident.

Pictures can also be very useful.  In this day and age of smart phones and other compact digital devices, if you happen to have a camera with you, make sure you take advantage of this and take a lot of pictures.

For example, take pictures of all the damage done to your car.  This will be useful not only in your claim for property damage, but the picture can also indicate how severe the collision was, which can be helpful in your claim for personal injuries as well.

Moreover, take pictures of the particular animal or animals that were involved in the accident, if possible.  If you are unable to trace an animal back to a particular owner, then you might have nobody to sue, which might mean, nobody to recover damages from.

Make sure to take pictures of the location where the accident occurred.  A possible defendant may try to later contend that the accident was caused by something other than his animal.  Pictures taken of the scene of the accident location immediately after the accident may help you in disputing such contentions.

When taking pictures, be sure to take pictures from numerous angles.  Also, if your camera allows you to include the date and time the picture was taken, make sure to do so.

In a livestock accident, the most important evidence may revolve around the premises, or more particularly the gate, from which the animal escaped.  Liability against a livestock owner often depends on the gate’s condition.  Accordingly, the premises should be investigated as soon as possible, because the scene can be altered rather easily.  For example, a defendant may fix any holes that exist in a gate or bolster any fragile portions of a fence before you even get a chance to inspect it.  Or, if they gate was left open, the defendant can simply close it before you get a chance to investigate.

Because evidence of the gate or defective fence can make or break your case, consider hiring a private investigator or expert promptly after the accident to assist you in gathering and analyzing evidence while it is still “fresh”.