Chickens in the road and legal ramifications

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Coralietg, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Coralietg

    Coralietg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I posted in the chicken laws section, but I'm hoping for more feedback,


    We live in the country, on a 20mph road. People see this stretch of road like a NASCAR track and it's rare for anyone to do less than 40mph.

    We have two acres, that is fenced to the front and sides. The fence was put up because a neighbors dogs came over and killed all our chickens. Neighbor wouldn't do anything about it.

    Yesterday, the chickens came through the carport and hit the road. There is a tree dropping berries in the road and the silly chickens are scratching in the road for them. A car hit and killed one of the chickens, came back several hours later saying the chicken had damaged their bumper and they wanted us to pay for it. They came back today with an estimate for $500.

    Is there anything we can do to prevent something like this happening again in the future? Obviously we are going to secure the area they got through, but there is no 100% way (other than fully confining) to never have a chicken in the road again. We live in the country, a rural area. Many houses around here have free ranging chickens. We are the only one who has fenced any part of the property.

    We can't afford this happening. Do we need further liability insurance? Will "caution" signs be enough to cover us in future?

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm not a lawyer but my gut feeling is that caution signs are not enough. Even in rural areas, each property owner is responsible to keep their animals on their property. You would need to check with your insurance agent regarding the liability insurance but my sense there is that it is to cover liability in case of unforeseen things happening - not relieve you of responsibility for a known issue.

    I hate to say it, because I also love to be able to let my chickens free-range (and spent $6K on fencing this year to keep animals on my rural property), but penning may be the best option to keep you out of legal trouble.
     
  3. Pnoah1

    Pnoah1 Out Of The Brooder

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    You ever see the signs with the lab crossing, or deer crossing. I would try and put a sign for chicken crossing a good half-mile down the road so people who go flying up the road at a billion miles an hour cannot do that. That or if you have any form of a camera that records like a deer hunting cam of some sort set up near the road so that way if someone tries to get an estimate claim on you, you can then show them that they were not going the speed limit thus reversing it on them. People are ignorant in a way that surprises me, seriously how much damage can a chicken do to a bumper?? I bet most of the damage came from flying up the road if it is a dirt road like the one we have.
     
  4. Huntered

    Huntered Out Of The Brooder

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    Do`nt pay them anything. First I can see a chicken causing that much damage to a bumper. Sounds like they are trying to rip you off.
     
  5. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would ask for a copy of the Police report. Oh? The car Owner didn't report the accident to the police? Then how would a person know the damage to the bumper was caused by a chicken?

    Owner of livestock are responsible for their livestock's actions. Regardless of the speed limit.

    From your post, you knew your chickens could get thru your car port. You knew they were in the road eating berries. You knew a car hit one of them. And now you want to excuse your liability because cars speed?

    Just because your neighbor didn't own up for his dogs actions does not mean you should act the same way in reference to the car bumper?
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  6. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Perhaps. Today's cars have a lot of plastic. Car traveling at 20 - 40 miles per hour and being hit by a 5 pound object can cause a lot of damage to the car.
     
  7. Coralietg

    Coralietg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had seen them in the road once before; I moved them away from the road. Yesterday I was at an OB appointment when the chicken was hit.

    I understand it is our property that damaged their car. I just don't believe we are 100% liable as a vehicle operator must always be in control of their vehicle. To hit a chicken, on a road that has a 20mph speed limit and high visibility, it is very unlikely they were going the speed limit. I know the car, as she passes frequently when I am waiting for my daughter at the end of the driveway. She is always speeding. At 20mph (with no braking) you shouldn't hit a 4lb feathery chicken so hard it's legs were torn off and it cracked your bumper. Within a mile of us, there are several houses that have fully free ranging chickens. We are in the boonies.

    Legally, we have our chickens secured. I will be clipping their wings so they cannot fly through the carport again.
     
  8. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    You are indeed 100% liable for any damage caused by livestock that is off your property.
     
  9. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought it was only on main roads that a livestock owner was liable for such an incident, and on farm, ranch, county and other rural routes the driver of the vehicle was liable to the extent that not only do they fix their own vehicle, but they replace your livestock et cetera...

    Ie - I've been taught that if I hit a cow on the road we live on I could face the heat rather than the cow's owner. However, if that same animal is "tresspassing" on my property, it's a completely different story. Perhaps it's a difference of being on a farm-to-market road or not, and what state you live in...
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  10. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    If you hit a cow on a public road, the owner of the cow is liable, with the exception of posted Free Range areas in some western states.
     

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