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According to a Gallup Poll, 6 in 10 Americans own some type of pet. Forty-four percent of Americans own a dog, and 29% own a cat. Pets are a big part of our lives, but what happens if your pet is involved in an accident? Can you file a personal injury claim if your animal is injured?
In many situations, you can file a personal injury claim if your pet is wrongfully killed or injured. However, it’s important to realize that an animal is legally considered property in most situations. In other words, if you file a personal injury claim and are successful, compensation will likely be based on the fair market value of the animal. Though many of us consider our pets to be part of our family, in the eyes of the law, they are considered property. So, like a car or other property, compensation is based on value.
However, you may be awarded compensation for emotional pain. For instance, if your dog were intentionally killed, you would likely have some level of emotional distress. You may be compensated for this distress. The same can be said for a car accident. Damages can be a part of a personal injury claim.
The intent is important to consider when determining liability. An injury intentionally caused will create a fairly straightforward lawsuit unless the defendant has a reasonable justification for his or her intentional acts, such as self-defense or defense of others.
If the defendant injured or killed the plaintiff’s pet on purpose, and the plaintiff has strong evidence proving the defendant’s deliberate acts, then some form of liability is likely.
Even if someone does not intentionally injure your pet, they may be responsible for your animal’s injury. For instance, if a person acts recklessly and injures your animal, they may still be held financially liable. But what does acting recklessly mean? According to NOLO, a reckless act is one that the defendant knows or should know is likely to result in a kind of harm (here, injury to a pet), but goes through with the act anyway.
None of us want to think about our pets being injured or killed, but it sadly does happen. If you want to know more about this subject, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll-free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather communicate electronically, fill out this form so we can contact you at a better time.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law