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Farmers liable for motorist’s collision with calf

03 February 2024 Donald Dinnie, Norton Rose Fulbright
Donald Dinnie, Norton Rose Fulbright

Donald Dinnie, Norton Rose Fulbright

The claimant sued two farmers for damages sustained following a collision with the defendants’ calf on the N8. The claimant sustained injuries when he swerved to the left to avoid the calf on the road. The defendants were found liable for the damages sustained by the claimant as a result of the collision for their failure to properly maintain the fence of the kraal to prevent the calf from escaping.

The claimant alleged that the defendants breached their legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent their cattle from entering the public road, in order to prevent such accidents from occurring.

The defendants allegedly failed to erect and maintain proper cattle-proof fences to prevent the cattle from escaping the farm onto the public roads and failed to employ sufficient staff as herdsmen and to establish a proper system for fence inspection and repair. Expert evidence was led by the claimant to demonstrate the dilapidated condition of the fencing and the how easy it was for the weaning calves to escape.

The court reiterated that the claimant must prove on a balance of probabilities that the defendants were negligent, and that it must be established through credible and acceptable evidence that the claimant suffered damages as a result of the defendants’ conduct.

L K Armstrong Ralikonyana v L De Villiers & Meriba Boerdery [2024] ZAFSHC 3 (2 January 2024)

This blog was co-authored by Queren Lombe, Candidate Attorney.

First published by: Financial Institutions Legal Snapshot

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