Having a pet dog or cat accompany you in a vehicle is not unusual these days. What happens if you are injured in a car accident and can no longer take care of your pet? What if your pet is injured as well? Can you sue for pet care and vet expenses?
Pet Care Expenses
If you are injured in a car accident and are unable to take care of your uninjured pet, you may be able to be compensated for pet care expenses. Several factors will be assessed to determine how to obtain financial recovery of such expenses.
These expenses include the cost of a dog walker and vet visits while you are off from work recovering from your injuries. They may be compensated by your own auto insurer or that of the person who caused the accident. You may want to look at your home insurance for possible compensation as well.
If your pet is also injured in the car accident, you will likely have vet and medical expenses you would want to recover. These types of expenses are out-of-pocket expenses and may be recovered in a lawsuit; however, before seeking them, other avenues of financial recovery will need to be considered first.
Given that vet expenses can be quite high, pet owners may already have pet insurance to help cover or minimize the out-of-pocket expenses. Pet insurance will be the first avenue for financial recovery. Speak with your pet insurer to understand what is covered under your pet insurance policy.
If you do not have pet insurance, your auto insurer will be the primary source for compensation. The interplay of your auto and home insurance may cover excess amounts as well.
If your insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the full cost of vet services, you may seek to recover the excess in a lawsuit.
In many cases, pets become beloved members of their family of human hosts (perhaps sometimes even more beloved than children!). The law is in a state of flux; however, it is now generally accepted that one may claim for emotional distress for the loss of, or injury to, a pet.
The quantum of such an award will depend on several factors, most importantly how long the claimant had owned the pet at the time of the death/injury, and who was the primary caregiver of the pet.
It is stressful to focus on recovering from injuries and financial concerns at the same time. Let Douglas Strelshik guide you through your legal recourse in a calm and empathetic manner. He has been representing injured parties in personal injury claims for over 30 years. You can call him at 647.348.5422.