1,100 Google Reviews


What Kind of Insurance Protects Me

When you are involved in a collision with an animal on the road, there may not be an “at fault” party to blame. However, you should be able to turn to your own insurance company to help repair the damage to your car and cover any damages you caused to other people’s vehicles.

Collision insurance coverage helps you pay to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged in an accident. If you own this type of insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company to help get your car repaired. For example, if you swerved to avoid hitting an animal and then ran off the road and into a tree or another car, you could file a claim to help repair the damages.

Unfortunately, not all Arkansas drivers own this type of coverage because collision insurance is optional. Only liability insurance is required in order to operate a motor vehicle on Arkansas roads.

Comprehensive insurance coverage is another type of optional insurance policy that could come in handy if you’re involved in an animal collision. Comprehensive insurance is a coverage that helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged in an incident that is not considered an accident or collision. Damage done to your vehicle from an animal collision would fall under this category.

How to Avoid Animal Accidents

Unfortunately, not all animal accidents are avoidable. Wild animals are unpredictable and may dart out in front of your vehicle without warning. However, there are ways to reduce your chances of being injured in an animal collision.

When driving, it is important to remain alert at all times. Scan your surroundings for wildlife on the side of the road and use extra caution when rounding blind corners or bends. Look for “glowing eyes” at night, which is a sign that animals are present.

The most important way to avoid an animal collision is to slow down on the road. Give yourself more time to stop, especially in rural areas where wildlife is present.

Your high beams will increase your visibility on the road. This can help you see wildlife in the distance and give you more time to stop when you see one.

If an animal is near the road, try honking your horn in a series of short bursts. This may scare them away and alert other drivers to their presence.

It is important to keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. If that driver were to brake for an animal in the road, you want enough time to be able to react appropriately.

Injured in an accident? Call us.

Our No Fee Guarantee® means you pay us nothing unless we win your case.
Get a Free Consultation

What to Do After Getting into an Accident with an Animal

If you are involved in an accident with an animal, it is important to know what to do immediately after the accident.

  • Move your vehicle off the road to a safer location if possible
  • Remain calm
  • Call local law enforcement
  • Put hazard lights on to alert other drivers
  • Take pictures or videos of the scene from a safe location
  • If the animal is alive, don’t touch it or attempt to move it

Hitting Livestock on the Road: Who is Responsible?

While having a collision with a farm animal may seem like a freak accident, it is an all-too-common occurrence, especially in a rural state such as Arkansas. While practicing in Arkansas, we regularly hear people say, “I just hit a cow, what do I do now?” So, if you ever find yourself in this situation, here are a few things to keep in mind.

To begin, Arkansas case law defines livestock as including “horses, mules, cattle, goats, sheep, swine, chickens, ducks, and similar animals and fowl commonly raised or used for farm purposes.” Smith v. R.A. Brooks Trucking Co., 280 Ark. 510, 660 S.W.2d 1 (1983).

The court has gone on further to delineate liability when an accident with livestock occurs. The court has stated, “It is well established that the owner of livestock is liable when damage results from intentionally or negligently permitting animals to run at large.” Smith v. R.A. Brooks Trucking Co., 280 Ark. 510, 660 S.W.2d 1 (1983). Therefore, if you are ever involved in a collision that results in property or bodily injury with a farm animal, don’t fret. With a little bit of leg work, you should be able to prove the livestock owner is liable for your damages.

To prove that the livestock owner is liable for the damages associated with a collision between their animal, and your car or person, Arkansas case law has set out what the plaintiff–the injured party–needs to show. First, in Oliver v. Jones, 239 Ark., 393 S.W.2d 248, 249, 1965 Ark., the court stated that the burden is on the injured party to show that the owner of the livestock is guilty of negligence in allowing their livestock to be on the highway. The plaintiff in Oliver v. Jones, was able to do this through testimony of the sheriff that the property owner had a plethora of complaints about cattle running at large on the highway, a witness testifying that he saw the livestock owner’s cattle on the highway at the point where the collision occurred, and another witness who testified that he too saw the livestock owner’s cattle in the highway the day the collision occurred.

The court went on further to state that mere knowledge of the animals being “at large” isn’t enough. This is due to the fact that livestock animals are generally large creatures that can escape their enclosures, and the courts don’t want to punish farmers for freak accidents occurring, such as cattle running through a fence during a storm.

In Miller v. Nix, 315 Ark. 868 S.W.2d 1994 Ark, the court stated, “While the evidence showed that the owner’s fence was in need of repair, no holes were found through which a cow could escape. Further, the driver presented no direct evidence to prove the owner owned the cow that was struck.


Therefore, when you have a collision with a farm animal, you need to immediately start looking for an area where the property owner’s livestock could have escaped their enclosures, e.g., holes in fences, lack of a chicken coop, open or faulty gate, etc., take pictures, and find evidence of who owns the livestock and the property they escaped from.

Once you have done that, you then need to see if any neighbors or witnesses have complained of such and check the sheriff’s log as well for complaints.

We’re There When You Need Us

If you are involved in an accident with an animal, you may be able to collect compensation from your insurance company or the owner of the animal. These cases can be difficult, however, and require the services of an experienced and skilled Arkansas car accident attorney. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our car accident attorneys fight aggressively for your future and will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf every step of the way.

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our personal injury attorneys can file your car accident claim and guide you through the entire legal process — from the discovery stage all the way to trial. We can help you present your claim to the insurance company in a way that will maximize your recovery from the start. If you do need to file a lawsuit, we’ll prepare your case to help you obtain maximum compensation without ever having to go to court.

Get the Recovery You Deserve

After an accident, it isn’t easy to know where to turn for help. Bills start to add up, paperwork becomes a burden, and insurance companies don’t have your best interest at heart. Thankfully, our team does.

We’ll help you navigate life after an accident and stand up for your right to compensation. Our lawyers at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton work tirelessly to achieve favorable results for all our clients, and we can handle any case — large or small.

With nine offices in Arkansas and Tennessee – Little Rock, Little Rock-Corporate Hill, Springdale, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, Jacksonville, Jonesboro, and Memphis – our personal injury lawyers are easily accessible when you need help.

If you’re ready to pursue a life-changing settlement with a strong advocate by your side, reach out and tell us your story today.

We’re here to help.

Car Accident Injury Law Resources

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?

While most people try to handle minor accidents on their own, it can still be advantageous to hire a car

Learn More
car side of road rolled over

Understanding Vehicle Rollovers: A Comprehensive Guide

Rollover accidents can be severe and complex — drivers must understand how they can happen, how to avoid them, and

Learn More
woman grabbing neck in pain

What Happens To Your Body In A Car Crash?

A car crash can have significant physical and emotional effects on you—so it’s important that you have time to focus

Learn More
line of rental cars with sunshine

What Happens if You Crash a Leased Car?

After getting into an accident with a leased car, you should make sure that everybody involved is safe, then report

Learn More
damaged car from accident , evening

What to Do if the Other Driver Leaves the Scene of an Accident

If you get into an accident and the other driver leaves the scene, the first thing you should do is

Learn More
young couple in kitchen looking a a bill with a laptop

How Much Money Can You Get From a Car Accident?

While the typical car accident settlement will fall between $5,000 and $100,000, your specific recovery could range from a few

Learn More
man sitting by wrecked car at night

What Happens if Someone Else Is Driving Your Car and Gets in an Accident?

In Arkansas, insurance generally follows the vehicle: So, if you give someone permission to use your car and they crash

Learn More
close up dog biting a human arm

Dog Bite

If you suffered an injury from a dog bite attack, you should be able to focus on healing. Our team

Learn More
notebook on table with hand and pen

Average Car Accident Settlement Amount

Many factors influence the settlement you’ll receive after a car accident. Because no two accidents or injuries are identical, it’s difficult

Learn More
Injured man after car accident, holding his head.

Understanding Head Injuries from Car Accidents

If you’ve suffered a head injury in a car accident, you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control

Learn More

What to Do After a Car Accident in Arkansas

Immediately after a car accident, you should turn on your hazard lights, get to safety, and try to remain calm.

Learn More
Graphic icons demonstrating various causes of sleep apnea

Common Causes : Truck Sleep Apnea

Every year, there are 15 million commercial trucks on our nation’s roads. These trucks transport over 70 percent of our country’s

Learn More
A semi truck passing a car on the highway

Safety Tips to Prevent Truck Accidents

Across the United States, there was an increase in the number of trucking accidents in 2016. That year alone, more than

Learn More
graphic of semi truck with a detached trailer lying on its side

Trailer Detachment Accidents

Common Causes of Big Truck Accidents Sharing the road with large commercial trucks can be scary. After all, a fully loaded

Learn More
self driving truck accidents

Understanding Self-Driving Truck Crashes in Arkansas

Self-driving trucks have arrived.. Even as legislation lags behind, driverless trucks are hitting the roads in Texas, Florida, and Northwest Arkansas

Learn More