When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle with your pets in tow, you never expect them to be involved in a serious accident. But life is unpredictable and what starts out as a quick trip with Fido or Fifi can turn into a harrowing moment for you and your pets. While human beings get the benefits of advanced airbags and seat belts, your furry or feathered friends are exposed to more danger during an accident.
Read on to learn what happens when your pet is injured in an auto accident and how you can receive compensation for your pet's injuries.
Dealing With Pet Injuries
Keep in mind that pet injuries aren't treated the same way as their human owners. Insurance providers typically consider pets as property, which means they'll be covered the same way as your laptop would if it was damaged during an accident.
The other driver's level of fault could also affect how your auto insurance provider covers your pet's injuries. If that driver was completely at fault for the accident, their auto insurance may cover your pet's injuries. On the other hand, neither your insurance provider nor the other driver's provider may provide compensation if you're found completely at fault for the accident.
Negligence can also play a role in determining the possible damages you could recover for your pet's injuries. If your pet was unrestrained or improperly restrained prior to the accident, these issues could affect your claim. After all, riding around with an unrestrained pet is illegal in most areas.
Some auto insurance policies include clauses that exempt providers from paying for personal property that was damaged during the accident. Under these circumstances, you can pursue a third-party claim seeking adequate compensation for your pet's medical bills and other related expenses.
Dealing With the Loss of a Pet
In the event the accident proves deadly for your pet, you may receive compensation for your loss. The amount of compensation you'll receive may depend on the type and breed of pet. You may receive additional compensation if your pet was a prize-winning, show animal or if the injured pet was a trained and certified service animal.
As with pet injuries, the compensation you'll receive will depend heavily on your level of fault. Being 100-percent in the clear gives you a better chance of recovering monetary injuries than if you were completely at fault for the accident.
Keeping Your Pets Safe
Some accidents are unavoidable, but you can always prevent your pet's injuries simply by following some common sense rules:
- Always use the appropriate restraints for your pet whenever you bring them along for a drive. Don't use your leash as a restraint, as your pets could become tangled and even choke on the leash.
- Never let a pet sit on your lap or in the front seat of your vehicle while you drive. An airbag deployment can seriously injure them if a crash happens.
- Never let your pets stick their heads or other extremities out of the vehicle. Not only does it expose them to flying debris, but they can be crushed or worse during an accident.
- Don't let your pets ride in the bed of a pickup truck. Unrestrained pets can easily be ejected in the event of a crash.
There are several types of pet restraints you can use, depending on the size and type of pet you own. Pet carriers and crates made from a sturdy and resilient material work best for keeping small animals restrained. For larger pets including large dogs, harnesses and barriers offer plenty of security and protection.
If your pet becomes injured in an automobile accident despite doing everything you could to prevent those injuries, an experienced auto accident attorney can help you receive compensation for your pet's injuries.