The loss of a pet in a car crash is emotionally devastating, as is watching them struggle physically when they survive an accident. If the crash was caused by negligence, the at-fault party should be held responsible for both you and your pet’s injuries. A pet’s injury or death can absolutely have an impact on any potential settlement you receive, although there is a major catch you need to discuss with an attorney.
Potential Compensation When a Pet Dies in a Car Accident
While there may be damages assigned for non-economic costs like pain and suffering stemming from the accident, the loss of a pet isn’t actually considered in those calculations. While a furry or scaled friend may be family to you, that’s unfortunately not how the law sees them.
Although pet owners may disagree with the classification, the court considers your dog or cat to be personal property, rather than a family member or loved one. That means that the insurance company or a jury will likely only award compensation covering the cost of vet bills.
In cases when an animal passes away, the court may also calculate a fair market value for “replacing” the pet by considering the cost of buying the same breed. There are additionally some special cases where compensation may be affected if the animal is directly involved with your income in some way, like a rare or exotic animal that performed in pet shows.
Various bills have been put forth in the Pennsylvania legislature to change that classification and allow for recovering non-economic damages when a beloved pet passes away. As of this writing, none of those bills have been signed into law. That may change at some point, however, which is why you need to consult an experienced attorney after a car crash for the most up-to-date information.
Of course, your attorney will also assist in seeking recovery for other costs like your personal medical bills, lost wages during the recovery period, and the emotional toll of the crash on your daily life.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney If Your Pet Was Hurt in a Crash
Although nothing can bring back your animal companion, the loss of a pet should still be considered in your overall compensation in a personal injury suit. Contact Heslin Law Firm to schedule a consultation and discuss the accident that harmed your family pet.