If my cow got out of the fence and my neighbor hit her with his car, what legal obligations do I have to fix the vehicle?

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If my cow got out of the fence and my neighbor hit her with his car, what legal obligations do I have to fix the vehicle?

I don’t have any insurance on my cow; my neighbor had just liability on his vehicle,

Asked on April 21, 2012 under Accident Law, Virginia

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As the owner of the cow, you would be liable for negligence for the cow getting out of her enclosure.  You would be liable for the cost of repairs to your neighbor's car.  Your neighbor has to mitigate (minimize) damages by having the car repaired at a body shop whose charges are comparable to other body shops in the area.  If your neighbor selected the most expensive body shop he could find to repair his car, his damages (the amount of compensation he is seeking to recover from you) would be reduced accordingly.  If your neighbor needs a rental car while his car is being repaired, you would also be liable for the cost of the rental car.  Your neighbor must mitigate damages by not selecting the most expensive rental car he can find or his damages will be reduced accordingly.  The rental car rate should be reasonable in order to mitigate damages.


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