Pets and Auto Accidents: Can Owners File Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Anyone who has a pet knows they are much more than an animal, they’re part of your family. Oftentimes they travel with us on vacations, to parks, beaches, and so many other places. It’s important to remember, though, that animals, including dogs and cats, can be injured in auto accidents just like you. Depending on the scope of the injury, pet owners may be on the hook for thousands of dollars. Can you file a personal injury claim to compensate you for your pet’s injury?
Compensation and Pet Injuries
In most cases, pet owners rarely have health insurance policies for their pets. What about the ability to file personal injury claims against drivers who caused the accident that injured your pet? Can the guilty driver be forced to cover the medical costs for your pet? In California, the answer depends on the details surrounding the accident. For starters, it is important to note that animals aren’t viewed the same as humans in the eyes of the court. They’re not equal, and pets are often viewed as property. Simply put, just like you would petition for compensation or damaged property, like damage to your vehicle, you could possibly file a claim for reimbursement for your pet’s medical bills. Additionally, you might be able to seek damages and compensation for emotional distress if your pet died in the accident.
That said, the process of seeking compensation for your pet’s injuries is similar to filing a claim for property damage. Just like with other property damage claims, you will have to prove the driver who caused the accident was actually at fault and that your pet sustained an injury or died as a result. You must also prove your pet’s injuries resulted in damages, like loss of income to care for your pet or hefty medical bills.
What to do Right After an Accident
If you and your pet are ever in an accident and your pet is injured, there are a few things you should remember to do right after the accident. Just like any other type of auto accident, you should always remember to gather information from the other driver, such as driver’s license numbers and insurance policies. Take pictures of the accident scene if possible, and if your pet’s injury is visible, take a photo of that as well. Documenting these valuable details and gathering insurance information is important when you want to try and file an insurance claim for compensation or reimbursement of your pet’s medical costs.
Were you and your pet recently in an auto accident? Was your pet injured? If so, the team at Solution Now Law Firm can help you get the compensation you need to help cover your pet’s medical costs. When you contact our office, our experienced San Jose car accident attorneys will help get your documents in order and file a claim on your behalf. Call us today at 408-256-2871 for a consultation.