If you are involved in a car accident in which you suffer injuries and also strike an animal, it can be a complex situation. Even if you injure or kill someone else’s beloved pet, your own injuries may require compensation for missed work, lost wages, and medical bills. There are legal options available to sort out emotionally charged situations such as this and ensure that you are able to get the damages you deserve.
Injuries Common to Passengers in Car Accidents Involving Animals
There are many potential injuries you may suffer from when involved in a car accident in which you strike an animal. The force on your car from hitting the animal could cause minor injuries, such as cuts and scrapes, bruises, and even whiplash. More serious injuries may also occur, such as broken or fractured bones, head and back injuries, and damage to your brain and spinal cord. The severity of your injuries will directly affect the cost of your medical treatment and amount of missed wages, and therefore the amount of damages you will need.
Determining who is at fault is an important task when seeking damages due to an accident in which you strike an animal. Although you may think that being the only driver, and hurting an animal in the process, automatically makes you at fault in this situation, this is usually not the case. An animal kept as a pet is seen as a person’s property and if it is roaming in the street, it means that the pet owner is negligent and may be responsible for your injuries.
There are, of course, different degrees of fault when you are involved in a car accident in which you strike an animal. For instance, if the pet is kept in a fenced yard and broke out due to circumstances beyond the owner’s control or knowledge, they are not negligent and are therefore not completely at fault. But if the animal routinely breaks out of its enclosure and roams around town and the owner doesn’t do anything about it, they are a negligent pet owner and may be at fault for your injuries. Also, if you were found to be texting or driving while intoxicated, you would most likely be found more responsible for the accident than the pet owner.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Car Accident Involving an Animal
If you have been injured in an accident in which you strike a pet, one of the first things you should do is gathering contact information from eyewitnesses, as well as the contact and insurance information of the pet owner. It may be a good idea to call the police and have them file a report of the incident. That way, there will be a record of any important details about the accident that could help determine who is at fault.
Retaining a personal injury lawyer will help ensure that your personal injury claim is filed properly and that all evidence of the negligence of the pet owner, as well as any other important evidence, is presented. This will help you receive all of the compensation that you deserve for any pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills due to your injury.