Many of us take our beloved pets along as we travel. This, unfortunately, subjects them to the same risk we all take, namely the risk of being injured or killed in a car accident.
For many, the loss of a family pet can be nearly as devastating as losing an actual family member. While a pet that dies in a motor vehicle accident cannot truly be replaced, the law does make provisions for compensating you for the loss of your pet or the cost to treat injuries sustained by your companion animal.
At Joye Law Firm, our car accident lawyers are animal lovers who understand the loss of a pet and the pain of seeing a pet injured. We also know the expense of veterinary bills. If your dog, cat or other pet has been hurt in a car accident, we may be able to help you to obtain compensation for your loss.
A Legal View of Pets in Car Accidents
If your pet has been injured or killed in a car accident, you may be able to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance or your own car insurance, including uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM or UIM) insurance.
Under an insurance claim based on a pet being hurt in a car wreck, the harm to your pet would be viewed as property damage. If your pet is injured in a car crash caused by a negligent or reckless driver, you could seek compensation for your pet’s veterinary bills, which could add up quickly in the case of a severe injury.
South Carolina law views pets as property, even though pet owners know that they are much different from our cars, bikes and other personal property. Because pets are considered property under the law, a pet’s injury does not give rise to a claim for pain and suffering or other intangible losses as would a person’s injury.
The law’s view of pets as property is also important in tragic situations where a pet dies in a car crash. The law provides that, as the owner, you should be compensated for the “value” of your loss. However, this does not factor in the emotional value of a pet to its family.
A court considering the value of a pet will look at the market or replacement value of the animal, including its breed, pedigree and any profit you may derive from it. In most cases, a court would determine the cost to replace the pet and award damages (compensation) accordingly.
Losing a rescue dog from the pound would not warrant much in money damages, but it is likely that you would be better compensated for the loss of a pure-breed animal. If you were able to demonstrate that your pet was a top prize-winning show dog or a working animal with specialized training, additional compensation might be available.
Contact a Pet-Loving Car Accident Attorney
If your pet has been hurt or killed in a car accident, you have suffered a loss that is recognized by the law and for which you may deserve compensation. Before you accept an insurance settlement, contact Joye Law Firm to speak to a South Carolina car accident attorney about your companion animal’s car accident injuries.
Since 1968, the car accident lawyers of Joye Law Firm have helped South Carolina residents and their families deal with many losses from motor vehicle accidents. We understand that injuries to a beloved pet add to the trauma of a car wreck. We want to help you in any way the law allows.
Call Joye Law Firm at (877) 936-9707 or use this online contact form for a free and confidential meeting to discuss your loss and your legal options.