Can I Get Compensation if My Pet Is Injured in a Car Accident?
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on May 02, 2018 in Car Accidents
For many pet owners, pets are a part of the family. When they are hurt or killed in a car accident, the losses are similar to those experienced if a person was affected – medical (veterinary) bills, and pain and suffering felt by the owners.
If your pet was injured or killed in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact our car accident attorneys in South Bend to learn your legal options for pursuing compensation after an accident.
Call (844) 678-1800 today to schedule a free consultation with a caring attorney.
Compensation for Veterinary Bills
If your pet is injured in an automobile accident, you may incur veterinary expenses for the pet’s treatment. A court generally awards compensation for reasonable medical expenses when pets are injured. Several factors will be taken into consideration in determining what is reasonable, including the pet’s age and health.
You may be able to recover compensation for damages related to your pet’s veterinary bills or loss by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. All insurers handle coverage related to pets differently – so if the insurer does not cover pets in case of an accident, filing a civil case against the at-fault driver may allow you to pursue damages.
Compensation for the Value of the Pet
If your pet is killed in a car accident, you may be awarded compensation for the pet’s value. This value can be determined in three ways:
Fair Market Value
In accident cases, a pet is considered property. The value of the pet may be determined by how much the animal would sell for on the open market. Factors that help determine this amount include the pet’s:
- Purchase price
Damages may be awarded in the amount it would cost you to replace your pet. Replacement value is typically higher than fair market value. The replacement value amount also includes factors such as the pet’s training and accomplishments, such as in the case of show animals.
Special Economic Value
A pet may be trained to provide special services or usefulness to the owner. In these cases, the animal’s replacement or fair market value does not fully reflect the value the animal gives to its owner.
This determination may be used in cases of loss of animals for breeding (causing lost revenue for the pet’s owner), service animals, or if the pet has undergone rigorous and specialized training to gain specific skills.
Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering
Pet owners feel real emotional distress when their pets are tragically taken from them. Because of this, courts may award damages for loss of companionship, love and affection, as well as emotional distress related to the loss of a pet.
Loss of companionship, love and affection is typically considered a factor in compensating for the actual value of the pet, as most courts do not consider owners to be entitled to non-economic losses concerning a pet, even when the death was caused by negligence.
Compensation for emotional distress may be awarded if your pet was killed by someone who acted maliciously. Punitive damages may also be awarded in such a case, serving as a punishment and deterrent of the behavior.
Contact an Experienced Attorney for Help
If your pet was injured or killed in a car accident, the South Bend car accident attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak are available to assist you. Our legal team is experienced at handling these types of cases and will pursue maximum compensation for your losses.
Request a free, no-obligation consultation and learn the legal options available in your case. We charge no upfront fees and are only paid if we help you recover compensation.