Can You Sue If Your Dog Gets Injured?
The dog is still one of the most loyal and popular pets in America, so it’s not at all unusual for many Americans to own one—or a few—as pets. But dogs, being animals with minds of their own, can sometimes be a little uncontrollable, or surprise us with unexpected behavior. In most legal situations involving dogs, the focus is on what happens if a dog injures a person, usually by biting.
However, the unfortunate, and the opposite can also happen, where a person injures a dog, and sometimes this is not always an accident either. Many people view their dog as just another member of the family, so it makes sense that if your dog was injured due to someone’s carelessness, you’d want some kind of compensation. But can you get it?
Negligence Is Always Illegal
When it comes to negligence, that is, a legal situation where someone’s carelessness or deliberate choice to ignore a harmful situation results in injury, the law always sides with the victim. In this case, it doesn’t matter whether the victim is a family dog, the law still does not accept that someone else, acting negligently, escapes free of consequence.
So the simple answer is, “yes, you absolutely can take someone else to court for the injury of your dog, if your dog is an innocent victim.” However, it’s important to note that just because you can take someone to court for a lawsuit, it doesn’t mean that the end results will be the same as if a human family member were involved.
When a person is injured, permanently crippled, or even dies as a result of an accident, such as a drunk driving collision, that person may be the breadwinner for a family, or even a child with his or her whole life ahead of her.
As a result of that potential for human life and contributions to family and economy, the weighting is very different in situations of injury or even death.
A dog, however, unless it is a professional show dog, a guide dog for the blind, or used for breeding purposes, doesn’t carry that same weight in the eyes of the law. As beloved as a mixed breed, house pet is, while the courts may recognize that a wrong has been inflicted on an innocent animal, it is still just a pet. So the idea that a lawsuit would be worth tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in damages isn’t realistic.
If you go to court for the injury or death of your dog, bear in mind that any damages involved are likely to only be for the cost of veterinary treatment, if the animal is wounded, or the cost of buying a new a pet to replace it, if death is involved. There may be circumstances where emotional distress/suffering are valid, if you saw your animal injured or killed in front of you, but you would have to talk to a personal injury lawyer to get your case evaluated, and find out exactly where you stand.