What Can I Do If My Pet Was Injured in an Automobile Accident?

In today’s culture, most pet owners view their animals as so much more than just property. These furry little creatures have weaved their way into our hearts and have become part of the family. They often travel with us in the car just as if they were a human passenger. But unfortunately, our pets may suffer serious injury or even pass away in the event of a car crash.

The passing of a dog, cat, or other pet can be terribly traumatic for the owner. Unlike tangible and non-living property, a pet cannot be replaced. However, depending on your state law, the court may recognize how important it is for owners to seek compensation for their pet’s injuries or fatality following an automobile accident.

Will my car insurance cover the costs for my pet’s medical bills?

Not every car insurance is the same, as some may cover veterinary bills and others may not. If your car insurance doesn’t cover it, then you will want to pursue compensation with the help of an auto accident lawyer in Indianapolis from the other driver’s insurance or by filing a civil lawsuit against the individual directly. If your car insurance does cover it, then it will likely be classified as property damage, where you have the right to pursue financial compensation for medical bills and other costs related to your pet’s injury. The compensation could be substantial, based on the severity of the car collision. 

Can I sue the driver for not only my pet’s medical bills, but pain and suffering too?

Some states view a domestic animal’s physical injury or fatality as cause for pain and suffering damages. If your state views pets as property, then you may not be eligible to seek pain and suffering compensation. The best way to find out if the court will consider pain and suffering as a component of your case, is to speak with an attorney who is experienced in handling car accident cases. The court may award you a replacement cost for the value of the pet, such as breed, pedigree, and profits you would have made if they would have produced offspring in the future.

How can I keep my pet safe in the car? 

It is perfectly normal to want to bring your furry family member with you for travels, particularly if you are going away overnight and don’t want them alone. But, you must always consider their safety too, and that an unrestrained dog or cat could distract you or run away in the event of a car accident. Here are ways to keep both you and your pet safe while on trips: 

  • Keep your pet in a carrier or crate. Hard plastic, soft-sided, or wire mesh carriers are all reliable options for ensuring your pet is secured. Be sure to use a carrier that enables your pet to stand up, spin around, and lie down comfortably.
  • Give your pet a light meal around 3-4 hours prior to the drive, to help prevent vomiting if they get car sick. 
  • Do not ever leave your pet alone in a parked car, as the same rules for keeping your baby safe apply to pets as well. 
  • Have your pet wear a collar with identification and get them microchipped if they aren’t already. 

Thanks to Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into personal injury claims and pet injuries in car accidents.