$1.02 Million Awarded After Crash Involving a Bull Leads to Death of Virginia Woman

It’s common knowledge that passengers can sue drivers who harm them by driving off the road or into other cars. However, in one case in Virginia, a passenger’s estate sued a driver who hit a bull as well as the animal’s owners.

This was an extremely sad case. The wreck resulted in horrendous injuries and the eventual death of the passenger.

All cases are unique and different and no result is a predictor of another, but the woman’s estate was awarded $1.02 million, reported Virginia Lawyers Weekly.

bull injuries - a passenger from Virginia lost her life

Bulls are heavy animals that can cause severe injuries

The accident occurred in December 2014, when a 49-year-old woman was the front seat passenger in a vehicle. The driver was on a rural, two-lane country road at 9:15 p.m.

He hit a bull on the road. The animal had escaped from a nearby pen. The bull was thrown onto the roof of the car, crushing the metal.

The passenger sustained very serious injuries including a T-4 burst fracture of her vertebral spine leading to lower extremity paralysis. She underwent cervical spine surgery to stabilize her spine but ended up paralyzed from the T-2 level.

The woman died nine months later from complications associated with the injury, including severe decubitus ulcers, respiratory failure, and infections.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the driver of the car that hit the bull and the cattle owners who owned the farm the animals escaped from.

The case was settled in mediation for $1.02 million. The attorneys for the plaintiff’s estate were Walter H. Emroch and Thomas McNally from Richmond.

The liability of the owner of farm animals for injuries caused by livestock is set out in the Virginia codes. It’s unlawful for the owner or manager of any animal detailed in § 55-306 to permit any such fenced animal, to run at large beyond the limits of the owner’s lands. The owner may be liable for damages in such cases.

Although it’s rare for large animals like cattle or horses to run free on roads, the consequences can be serious to drivers when they do. If you are driving on rural roads, you have a responsibility to look out for such hazards.

The loss of a loved one in a car wreck is one of the toughest things a family can face. To see what types of damages are available, see our wrongful death page. Please contact our personal injury lawyers at (757) 455-0077.

Jim Hurley


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