According to Todd Rose, of Rose Law Firm, Paris, TN, dealing effectively with an accident involving cattle that found their way beyond your perimeter fence involves lots of common sense:

Be available – “If possible, know your neighbors and make sure they have your cell phone number or a way to reach you; bad situations get worse when no one can find the owner.”

Be involved – “If possible, be personally involved in dealing with the incident. Make sure anyone involved in an accident is taken care of before dealing with the escaped cattle.”

Determine that the cattle are yours –“If there’s a break in your fence and livestock are involved in causing damage, if there’s any question as to the ownership of the animal, there’s a good chance a jury will say they’re yours.”

Tell your insurer – “Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as reasonably possible; follow a verbal report with a written one.”

Wait for your day in court – “You can’t win your case on the side of the highway, but you can lose it. For example, that isn’t the time to shout to everyone that this is the fifth time your deadbeat, good-for-nothing neighbor has tried to figure out a way to sue you for easy money.”

Check the perimeter fence – “If your fence was inadequate, even if it was legal, don’t allow an escape to be repeated because the legal consequences of the second instance will likely be worse.”