For most pet owners out there, their furry friends are more than just animals. They are our life companions and friends. If you have a pet, you do not want anything bad to happen to it, because you treasure your dog or cat or other pet as a family member.
In fact, your pet is probably always by your side, even when you are traveling. You take it with you for a short ride in the car to a grocery store or for a long road trip to go on a vacation with the rest of the family.
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and pets are just as susceptible to suffer injuries in car accidents as humans are. In fact, the cost of medical treatment for your pet’s injuries may reach thousands of dollars.
Now, if your pet was a human, he or she could have recovered damages on his/her own by filing a personal injury claim, but let’s get realistic. Is there actually any way to seek compensation for your pets’ injuries in California? That is the question we asked our lawyers from the Compass Law Group, LLP
California law views pets as ‘property’
“Well, the bad news is that California law does not give pets the same rights as humans, and it views animals as property,” says our Los Angeles car accident attorney. “Therefore, you cannot file a personal injury claim against the at-fault motorist on behalf of your pet. But nonetheless, there is still a way to recover damages if your pet has been injured or died in a car accident.”
Let’s face it, you, like the vast majority of pet owners in California, do not carry health insurance for your pet. But is there actually a way to force the at-fault driver to cover the medical expenses associated with your pet’s injuries or pay for your pain and suffering and emotional distress associated with the death of your furry friend in a motor vehicle accident?
How to recover damages for your pet’s injuries in a car accident?
First of all, it is critical to establish the other driver’s fault in the accident. If you can prove that the other motorist was at fault for causing the car accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the damages and losses. And since California law treats pets as property, you have a right to seek reimbursement for your pet’s medical treatment and other related damages and losses.
Similarly, if your pet dies in a car accident, you may be entitled to include “emotional distress” in your damages as part of the settlement. While you cannot recover “emotional distress” damages if your phone was destroyed in a car accident, California law acknowledges that pet owners may suffer mental anguish and emotional distress if their pet dies, because humans get emotionally attached to pets. And as long as the other driver was at fault, and his/her negligence was the primary or contributing cause of the accident, you have a right to obtain compensation for injury or death of your pet.
What types of damages can you recover if your pet was injured or died in a car accident?
However, in no way does it mean that recover compensation will be easy. Our experienced car accident attorney in Los Angeles says that the procedure of seeking compensation for your pet’s injuries or death is very similar to a standard personal injury or property damage case.
First and foremost, you will have to establish the other driver’s liability, proving that he/she was either fully or partially at fault for the accident. Second of all, you must prove that your pet’s injury or death was a direct result of the defendant’s negligence or recklessness. And the third element of your claim will be proving that your pet’s injuries resulted in medical expenses or even loss of income as a result of taking time off work to take your pet to veterinary hospitals and care for your furry friend at home.
Let our Los Angeles car accident attorney review your case and help you seek the maximum compensation for your pet’s injuries or loss of your pet in a motor vehicle accident. Do not believe those unscrupulous, immoral, and dishonest insurance companies who will be trying to convince you that “We cannot cover the damages associated with your pet’s injury or death because it is not human.”
Contact the Compass Law Group, LLP today. You deserve to know the truth about California law and recover the maximum amount possible.