Who is at fault - Car crashed into a cow

In April, a car driving along Interstate 15 crashed into a cow, injuring both the driver and passenger. The cow was one of a group of cattle owned by Cliven Bundy that had gotten onto the interstate through a hole in the fence in an area closed to grazing. The passenger has filed suit against Bundy, alleging that he “recklessly, carelessly and negligently allowed his cows to enter onto Interstate 15 through an area where he had no grazing or other rights.”

His response was that he has no obligation to keep the fence maintained, and is therefore not liable. He then goes on to say, “The person whose car hit that cow is liable to me.”

Ultimately, who is responsible, the driver of the car, the owner of the cow, or the state?

The person at fault is whoever is responsible for the integrity of the fence. Had there not been a hole in the fence, the accident would not have happened.

Well, I think the cow’s owner has liabilty. He can try apportion some percentage of fault to the driver (failing to see cow, etc)

Interesting Nevada Statute:

The American west still has open range laws in a lot of places. This essentially means that cow owners can let there cattle range freely and if you hit a cow you owe damages to the owner of the cow.

With regards to part one of that statute, a lot of the western ranching states have open range laws which exempt ranchers from liability from collisions with livestock on roadways in open range areas. Federal rules don’t allow the Interstates to be open range land (so it’s not applicable here) but there are plenty of high speed 2-lane highways that are. Under some of the state open range rules the driver could even theoretically be held responsible for the damage to the livestock, but that doesn’t appear to have ever been particularly common.

In the situation here, there might have been some sort of split liability between the landowner (the BLM) and the owner of the cattle, except for the fact that Bundy rather notoriously doesn’t actually have permission to graze on the land.