Moving large beasts like cattle around can be risky business. Just watching an old movie about cattle drives assures us that life in the old West was perilous at best. With stampedes, and the contrary nature of such animals, Hollywood demonstrates for us that just about anything can happen where bovines are concerned. The fact is, even with all the advances made in agriculture over the past 150 years, moving cattle – particularly male cattle – can still be hazardous duty.
A man hired a worker to help him move a bull to the market where the animal was to be sold. (It happens that the two men are father and son, but their association in this case was a business arrangement.) In the process of corralling the animal, the son was attacked by the 600-pound bull and injured quite severely.
Bulls are large and temperamental animals and as such are subject to the liability laws for injuries caused by them. The injured son filed suit against his father for his injuries claiming that the father was negligent in his improperly confining the animal by not properly fastening a gate. This allowed the bull to run at large, giving the animal access to the plaintiff, and causing his various injuries.
Here we have a question of proximate cause. Even when negligence exists, liability doesn’t attach to that negligence unless it is proven to be the proximate cause of the injuries. In this case, the trial court was tasked with determining whether or not the negligence of the father was the reason for the son’s injuries.
When the jury in this case came to their verdict, they found in favor of the plaintiff awarding damages to the injured party. The defendant father appealed this verdict alleging that the trial court did not adequately explain the meaning of “proximate cause” to the jury ahead of their deliberations.
It is the duty of the trial judge to explain to (or charge) the jury regarding their responsibility in such cases in order that they may enter into their deliberations with all the information they need. The appellate court found that the trial court did not fully charge the jury on the meaning of proximate cause as is required by law. Thus the verdict was reversed.
We would like to think the son and father were not forever estranged over this unfortunate incident. What we know, though, is that in personal injury cases, the eventual outcome is dependent upon the keen wit and expansive knowledge of the attorneys who argue them.
Personal injury cases involving animal attacks, whether they be they dog bites or trampling by a raging bulls, rely upon a thorough knowledge of the law as it applies to the specific incident. Only an attorney who specializes in personal injury litigation will have the tools in hand to win the day in court.
Even if you have a best friend who practices law, unless he or she is an expert in personal injury law, the outcome is doubtful. It’s a bit like trusting your brain surgery to a dermatologist. If you’re going to go to court with an animal attack problem, you must bring in the animal attack experts. In such matters, leave nothing to chance.
Allow us to examine the facts in your case and advise you how to proceed. Call the specialists at The Millar Law Firm today for your free case evaluation.