It’s every pet owner’s worst nightmare – an unexpected and preventable accident caused by someone else seriously hurting or even killing your beloved furry family member. Even responsible pet-owners and well-behaved pets can become victims of another person’s carelessness. Negligent drivers don’t just endanger themselves and other motorists – they pose a hazard to pedestrians and pets as well. When we’re involved in a car accident with one of these drivers, we have the right to seek financial compensation if the accident was their fault. But what about when one of our pets is the victim?
Proving Negligence After An Accident
If another party’s negligence caused your pets injury or death, you can hold that party liable for damages in civil court. Pet injuries and deaths can be traumatic for both the pet and the owner, and also create some financial expenses. It’s important to hold responsible parties liable for these damages.
While any pet owner views their pet as a part of the family, the law is a bit more callous. Pets are legally considered property. So when a pet suffers an injury or dies in a preventable accident, the case will be handled similarly to a case involving property damage to an inanimate object, rather than personal injury.
Recoverable Damages In Pet Injury & Death Cases
Since pets are legally considered property, the damages you can recover are based on the “market value” of the pet. This means you can recover compensation for expenses directly related to the injury or death, including:
- The Value of Your Pet – The courts will calculate a value for your pet, based on breed, age, health, purchase price, and other factors
- Veterinary Care – Veterinary bills are covered for reasonable treatment and care, depending on your pet’s health prior to injury.
- Punitive Damages – If your pet was injured or killed intentionally, you could recover punitive damages which are designed to punish offenders for cruelty.
- Emotional Distress – Recovering compensation for your own emotional distress varies state by state. But generally, you can recover damages if the accident was caused by an egregious form of negligence, such as running a stop sign while driving drunk and speeding.
Taking Legal Action After A Pet Injury Or Death
If your pet has recently been injured or killed in a preventable accident caused by someone else, you have legal rights. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you could recover a variety of damages in a property damage lawsuit. Ideally, it would be best to find a firm with lawyers who specialize both in personal injury and property damage law.
At Lipsig Queens, we have a diverse legal team who specializes in both of these fields. We can help you hold negligent parties liable for hurting or killing your dog, cat, or other pet. To find out more about your rights, contact us today for a free consultation.