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Can I Recover Compensation if my Pet was Injured in an Accident?

Auto accidents are stressful enough for the driver, but they also have a major impact on any passengers who happen to be in the car as well. When we think of passengers, we usually picture family, spouses, and friends, but pets and the injuries they sustain are rarely ever discussed. Our four-legged (or two-legged) friends go with us everywhere, so it’s important to know what to do if an accident takes place with them alongside you.

Before we discuss pet injuries in more detail, it’s important to note that all personal injury claims–pets or no pets–will require the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Van Law Firm has nearly a decade of experience defending the rights of accident victims all over the U.S., and we’re just getting started. Call our office nearest you today to speak with our award-winning staff.  

My Pet was Injured in an Accident, What Should I Do? 

Generally speaking, dogs are the most common pets that are traveling in vehicles when an accident takes place. Other examples include cats and livestock (horses, cows, etc.). Unfortunately, there are very few options available in terms of pet safety restraints, so most pets roam freely in the car or trailer, which makes them vulnerable to injury after an unexpected crash or impact.  

If an accident happens while you are traveling with your pet(s), you should consider following these procedures: 

  • In the moments following the crash, make sure that all pets are accounted for (sometimes animals can be frightened by the incident and runoff) 
  • Take a minute to do a quick assessment for any prevalent injuries 
  • When it is safe to leave the scene, take them to a nearby vet (or your pet’s existing vet if applicable) and have them conduct a more thorough examination

It’s not hard to understand that animals react differently to stress than humans do. That being said, proceed with caution when examining your animal, as sometimes the pain of an injury or the stress of the crash may cause them to become aggressive. Depending on the animal, it also may not be possible to definitively determine if they are OK, so it’s best to bring them to professionals as soon as possible.  

Can Claimants Recover Compensation for Pet Injuries? 

In the event that your pet sustains injuries in a vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence of another, there is a way through which you may be able to recover compensation, and that is the auto insurance policy of the party at fault. Essentially, the driver’s property damage liability coverage may cover your pet’s expenses, depending on the situation and severity or injuries. Claimants should note, however, that bodily injury coverage does not apply to pets– it may seem a little crass to label our pets as “property,” but bodily injury coverage can only be used for human injuries. 

Conversely, if you were the one who caused the accident in question, then you will likely not recover any compensation from other drivers for injuries sustained by your pet. That being said, you can potentially utilize your own coverage, as a lot of pet owners also carry pet and property damage coverage on their personal auto insurance policies. Some insurers include it in their comprehensive protection plans and others sell it separately, but if you pay for it, then your pet’s injuries should be covered. If you have this coverage but your insurer refuses to honor it, you can stop by to talk to us about that as well.  

Connect With Experienced Car Accident Attorneys 

If you have questions about injuries sustained by your pet in a car accident, consider contacting the trusted car accident lawyers from Van Law Firm right away. We can gather the materials needed to successfully recover the compensation you and your pet deserve. If your animal is important to you, that’s important to us, so give our office nearest you call today to get started.