Can I Seek Compensation if My Pet Was Injured in a Car Accident?
Car accidents can be incredibly terrifying experiences for everyone involved. Drivers and passengers can sustain injuries that can leave them with tremendous pain and suffering, as well as significant medical bills. However, a less talked about aspect of a car accident is what happens if you have a pet in the vehicle with you at the time the crash occurs. Here, we want to discuss whether or not you are able to seek compensation if your pet is injured in an accident caused by somebody else.
What to Do if a Pet is Injured in a Car Accident
In general, dogs are the most common types of pets that accompany people when they ride in their vehicles. There are other animals that go for car rides, including cats, but dogs are by far the most popular companions in vehicles. Unfortunately, our furry friends are not immune to serious injuries in the event an accident occurs when they are in the vehicle. In fact, most people do not use any type of pet restraint system in the vehicle, so a crash could lead to their pet being thrown around and sustaining multiple impacts.
If you are involved in an accident you have your pet with you in the car, you should:
- Make sure the pet is okay
- Assess them for any visible injuries
- Take them to the local vet as soon as possible
Dogs and other animals usually have relatively high pain tolerances, particularly right after an incident occurs. You may not notice that your pet has been injured right away, so it is best to take them to the vet as soon as possible so an evaluation can be conducted.
Can You Get Compensation for Your Pet’s Injuries in a Car Crash?
If you and your pet are involved in a vehicle accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver, there is a chance you will be able to recover compensation for your pet’s injuries from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. However, the compensation you receive will not come through the other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage, but rather through property damage liability coverage. While it may seem harsh to view pets as property, the reality is that bodily injury coverage can only be used for humans.
Unfortunately, if it is determined that you caused the crash, it is unlikely that you will be able to recover much compensation for any injuries your pet sustains. However, many pet owners also have pet insurance as part of their auto insurance policy. Sometimes this coverage is automatically included with collision or comprehensive protection. In other cases, insurers sell pet insurance injury coverage as an extra endorsement on the policy. If you pay for this additional coverage on your own policy, then you should be able to recover compensation for your pet’s injuries regardless of which party caused the crash.
If you have any questions about the types of compensation you may be entitled to after your crash, including coverage of any pet medical bills, seek assistance from a skilled Seattle car accident lawyer as soon as possible. These cases can become complicated, and it is crucial that you let an attorney get involved in the process early so they can handle all negotiations with insurance carriers.