DALLAS, Texas. It’s a pet owner’s worst nightmare and traumatizing for a driver—when a pet gets struck by a car. No one ever wants to find themselves in this situation. What rights does each party have in an accident like this and what can you do to protect yourself?
According to the Balance, getting treatment to injured humans and animals should be your first priority. Drivers who have hit an animal should take special precaution when moving the animal from the road. Injured animals can be frightened and may act aggressively. They are, after all, just trying to protect themselves. If possible, see if the animal has a tag and whether the owner can be contacted. If not, it may be best to contact the nearest animal hospital, letting trained staff know about the animal’s injuries and asking what might be the best way to get the animal to care. Whatever you do, don’t leave an injured animal on the side of the road. You could face charges for animal cruelty. Even if the dog’s owner should have kept the animal indoors or fenced, you’ve hit an animal, and have a responsibility to ensure the animal receives proper care. If you cannot locate the owner or can’t find nearby animal hospital, you can contact your local humane society which can provide care for the animal and may be able to hopefully locate the owner.
According to the Balance, after a car accident in which an animal is struck, the pet owner will usually be responsible for all vet bills. Normally, pet owners are expected to keep their animals restrained and out of the road. Responsible pet parents will ensure that gates are secure and animals are either inside or can’t get out. However, there are circumstances where a driver might be responsible for vet bills. If the driver lost control of his or her vehicle and rolled onto your property or jumped a fence in an accident, and your animal was hurt, the driver may be responsible for vet bills.
If your car was damaged when it struck the dog, the dog’s owner will normally be responsible for reimbursing you for repairs. Again, this comes down to being a responsible pet owner and making sure that your animal doesn’t end up in the street. In some cases, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance may be able to cover your car’s damages.
Finally, as a pet owner, what steps can you take to prevent your dog from being injured by a car or other driver? According to Petguide, you should always put your dog on a leash before going outside. If your dog is permitted to be in your front or backyard, make sure fencing is secure and that there is no way your dog can jump or dig his or her way out. Proper training can also go a long way. Your dog should be trained to come when called and should be taught not to run out your front door.
Car accidents involving animals can sometimes lead to complicated insurance claims. In some cases, your own comprehensive insurance will cover damages, and in some cases, you may need to seek a claim from the animal owner’s insurance. If you have been involved in an animal-related accident, visit the personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Gregg in Dallas, Texas today to learn more. Our car accident lawyers can help you plan a roadmap forward.