Maryland Injury Attorney Blog

Articles Posted in Livestock Animals in the Road

Some drivers may think that the Baltimore Beltway and other Maryland highways are the most dangerous places to drive in the state. It’s true: Sharing the highway with speeding commuters, large commercial trucks, and drivers distracted by cell phones CAN be dangerous. But it’s Maryland’s rural, undivided highways and winding back roads where motor vehicle accidents are more likely to occur.

Now a new report confirms what anyone who drives through rural Maryland already knows: Maryland is among states at the highest risk for auto accidents with wildlife – specifically deer. When mating season is in full swing, Maryland’s deer are on the move, and that means moving in and across our back roads and sometimes even highways.

As experienced Baltimore County, Maryland car accident injury lawyers, we’ve seen firsthand the damage that can occur when a vehicle collides with a large animal. According to a report by State Farm, deer and car accidents rose by 8 percent between 2010 and 2011 due to the economy picking up, more cars on the road, and a booming deer population. In addition, suburban sprawl in Maryland means more homes built in or close to woodlands, where hunting is not allowed. This gives deer a chance to graze without human predators. So more people are literally seeing wildlife such as deer in their own backyards, and on our Maryland roadways.

It’s a postcard-perfect picture: You’re driving down a back road in one of the rural Maryland counties, and you pass a farm with a red barn, corral, and horses lazily grazing in a field. It’s a relaxing sight that harkens back to simpler times.

However the spread of suburbia into rural Maryland counties — and the traffic that goes along with it — means increased risk of cars and trucks encountering large animals in the roadways. That picturesque Maryland scene can turn to horror in a heartbeat if a horse, cow, or other large animal gets loose and finds itself in the road — with an unsuspecting driver coming around the bend. Car accidents with large animals often end badly.

In an article in Stable Management magazine (see link below), an attorney who works with the equine industry goes into detail regarding various scenarios where horse and livestock owners may be held liable if an automobile accident with a large animal occurs. Laws vary from state to state, but in general…

Maryland drivers encounter a lot of hazards out there on our highways and roads — drunk drivers, distracted drivers texting and chatting on cell phones, road construction and detours, traffic congestion, bad weather — the list goes on.

One Maryland driving obstacle we hear less about that causes serious car accidents is the problem of livestock and other animals in the roadways. This includes farming livestock such as cattle, sheep, and bison; game animals such as elk and deer that are raised on private property for hunting; and even large exotic animals that are kept legally or illegally by private individuals as “pets.”

Let’s consider the problem of Maryland auto accidents involving livestock.