A woman was walking her dog across a road at a historically problematic intersection and was struck by a turning car. She was seriously injured and her dog died of its injuries. According to witnesses at the scene, the driver of the car that hit them appeared impatient and immediately turned after a car moved out of his way.
He then hit both the woman and her dog. Witnesses also say that when the woman lay unconscious on the ground, her dog wrapped herself around the woman’s head to comfort her. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries, and a bystander took the dog to a vet, but unfortunately, she didn’t make it. Friends and family have set up a memorial for the pet where dog-lovers from the community are coming to remember a dog that was loved by its owners.
When Pets are Killed in an Accident
When a person is injured in an accident, we know that the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for the damages which includes medical bills and a host of other financial losses. However, when the injury is to a pet, many wonder if the insurance has to pay for its injuries, or if it dies, is there a wrongful death claim for a pet?
To answer this question, we need to look at the basis for a personal injury claim.
What is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is just that: a personal injury. This means an injury to a person. In Kentucky and other states, if a person injures another person, then they are responsible for all monetary losses that the victim suffered. It’s based on a person’s financial losses that come from things like their medical bills, pain and suffering, lost present and future wages, and any permanent disability, among others.
Nature of a Loss
A pet has no ability to make a claim itself as it has no legal right to sue. However, this doesn’t mean that there is no recovery for injuries to the pet. Instead of being based on the right of the pet, it’s based on the rights of the owner of the pet.
It sounds sort of crass, but the law treats animals as property, and in a personal injury accident, the injured can claim all bodily injury losses to themselves along with any loss of property. So, once the driver of the other car is found to be at fault, then the owner of the pet can claim property damages to their pet.
Damages Paid in a Personal Injury Case with a Pet
All damages are looked at as a loss to the injured person. So, in an accident where a pet was involved, these are the damages that the owner can collect due to injury or death to a pet.
- Medical Bills: If the pet had medical bills as a result of the accident.
- Burial Costs: After death, the reasonable costs of burial.
- Value of Pet: If the pet died, what would a pet at that age, breed, pedigree etc. cost if you were to try to buy one.
- Mental Anguish/Loss of Companionship: Some states disallow this, however, in Kentucky if the at-fault person intentionally killed or hurt the pet, then this can be awarded.
Should I get an Attorney if my pet is injured or killed?
Pets have a special place in the hearts of their owners, and their welfare is important to them. If a pet is injured, you want to do what’s best for them which might mean a fair amount of medical treatment and bills. If you feel the insurance company isn’t playing fair, then call the attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, for a free consultation to and a case evaluation.
When you call Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, at 800 937-8443, you will immediately speak to a member of the legal team and not a message machine. You can also Live Chat with an expert who can immediately began helping you with your claim.