This article appeared in the December 2021, Volume 70, Copy 233 of "The Reporter" by Hochheim Prairie Insurance Company. Reprinted in entirely with permission.
Texas Legislature Amends Farm Animal Liability Act
The 2021 Texas Legislative Session was considered uneventful for the insurance industry. While there were bills filed that could have had a substantial impact on your Association, none of those bills made it to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk. With that being said, there were over 1,000 bills passed and enacted into law. One of those new laws could have a direct impact on you.
There were changes to Sections 87.001- 87.005 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code as outlined in HB 365. Chapter 87 of the code deals with liability arising from farm animals and the amendments were effective September 1, 2021.
According to its legislative summary, HB 365 “expands the scope of the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act (FALA), which exempts a person from liability for property damages arising from personal injury or death in connection with farm animal activities or livestock shows under certain circumstances. The bill includes a farm owner or lessee as a person to whom that limitation on liability and related warning notice requirements apply.”
Furthermore, the legislative summary states the bill “expands the circumstances under which a person is exempt from liability to include those in which the property damage, injury, or death results from dangers or conditions that are an inherent risk of a farm animal or the raising or handling of livestock on a farm.” The bill revises the exemptions to the limitation on liability and the language of the warning notice required to be posted at applicable locations and included in contracts with participants.
The bill establishes that the FALA does not affect the applicability of statutory provisions relating to workers’ compensation insurance coverage or an employer’s ability to refuse to subscribe to the workers’ compensation system.
Written by Pam Lahodney, Vice President
Hochheim Prairie Farm Mutual Insurance
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Published January 19, 2022