Thanks Roving Reporter... this is a real problem, as I know from a similar incident across the street, wherein a horse got out and was hit by a car on the nearby freeway, driver (and horse) fatality. Land owner, horse owner, all still in litigation, after two years. It's got me scared...
I have had a weanling-age-plus bull hit by a pick-up. He was Legacy and I think the most beautiful bull I ever bred. I had seperated hi, that day from his dam and out him in a strange pasture, he went through the fence trying to find his mommy, crossed the neighbors farm and got to the highway. At about 2:00 in the AM he was hit by a man returning home from an Orioles game and whatever entertainmemt he enjoyed afterwards. The driver left his totaled vehicle and got a ride home and returned the next AM and called the police to report the accident. When I got there at 7:30 the little guy was not long dead, still warm layin, had a little blood around the base of his horns but no other noticeable external damage. Lying off the shoulder of the road peacefully as if he had settled in for the night, sitting on his haunches. The jerk shoukd have been charged with animal cruelty for not calling for help for the animal and leaving him,there untreated for all thise hours.
In Virginia it's called the Open Range Law. The State writes the code and counties or cities are allowed to adopt or opt out of it. The default is for the law to be in effect statewide.
It says that an owner of livestock has a responsibility to contain his livestock. If his livestock gets out of his containment, and you don't want it on your property, you must fence it out. If livestock get out of their containment and are struck by a vehicle, the vehicle will be presumed to be at fault. The driver has to pay for the damage to the animal.
A second, optional level of the law recognizes that some livestock owners are lax in containing their livestock. Whenever an owner has 3 written reports of his livestock escaping containment, he becomes a habitual offender, the situation reverses, and he becomes guilty of a first degree misdemeanor. Now, when his livestock does damamge to property, the livestock owner is responsible for the property damage. Now, if livestock are struck by a vehicle, the livestock owner is responsible and must pay for the damage to the vehicle.
Both levels of the law can be adopted by counties and cities, but may not be re-written. The county I live in has both levels in force.
When the offenses proceed beyond the 3 written reports, the owner's livestock can be impounded, moved to a secure location, and the owner must pay board for the upkeep of the livestock until his contaiment area is judged to be adequate for their return.
This last step is quite expensive and usually results in the livestock being sold at public auction with the proceeds going to reduce the indebtedness.
If this sounds scary, it's because it is! Owners are now required to keep their fences in good shape or suffer for not. I know at least one owner who voluntarily paid for the damages to the truck of a drunken teenager who ran into and killed one of his steers that had escaped, just to avoid getting that 3rd written report against him.