Pets and Car Accidents: What You Should Know

We often talk about getting into a car accident with another driver, being involved in a hit-and-run, and similar occurrences. But what if you hit someone’s pet with your vehicle? Or, what if the scenario is flipped and it’s your pet that was hit by someone with their vehicle? 


You Just Hit Someone’s Pet

First, if it’s safe to do so, check on the animal (remember that injured animals can behave in an unpredictable manner). If the animal doesn’t seem to be bleeding and is wearing a tag, contact the animal’s owner right away.

If you do not see a tag with contact information, get in touch with animal services or call the non-emergency police number. It’s also best to immediately call the non-emergency police number (rather than looking for a tag) if you do see blood and the animal appears to be injured. 

Remember, significant injuries require immediate professional care. 

Vehicle Damage Insurance Coverage

If you hit a pet with your car, your insurance may or may not cover damage to your vehicle, depending on the specific situation. 

For example, suppose the animal darted out in front of your vehicle before you could properly react. In that case, you’re technically not at fault. It is more likely that your insurance will cover you for at least part of the damages. 

However, suppose after you’ve made a driving mistake (ie. speeding through a red light) and hit the animal due to that mistake, the vehicle damage may not be covered by your insurance provider. 


What to Do if Your Pet Was Hit

If you can prove that the driver was at fault for your pet being hit, you might be able to sue. You’ll also need to show that you had significant vet expenses due to the accident, so keep all receipts for proof. It depends on the specifics of your case, and a lawyer would be able to help you determine if you could or could not sue. 

If you have pet insurance, you might be able to claim some of your expenses. This depends on each individual policy. Pet insurance may also provide coverage if you were traveling with your pet, got hit by another vehicle, and your pet was injured. 


Next Steps

While we adore our pets and see them as an important part of our family, the law sees pets as property. As such, rules and regulations surrounding pets are very different from how an accident involving another driver would be dealt with. 

If you hit someone’s pet or your pet was involved in an accident, contact us for a free consultation. We can help guide you in the right direction.

You can reach us via our website contact form or call us toll-free at 1-833-662-2624.