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Pet Liability Primer: Car Accidents, Contracts, and More

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on December 29, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

You love your pets very much. They're good friends. So when they are injured somehow -- whether hit by a driver, mistreated by a caregiver, or neglected at the pet hotel -- you want someone to pay for what did, or did not, happen. You wish to bring a lawsuit. Can you?

Yes. Whether your suit will succeed of course depends on the facts and what kinds of claims you make. Who, if anyone, is liable for the animal injury depends how the creature was hurt.

Negligence and Animal Accidents

If your pet is out with a dog-walker and is hit by a car, you may choose to sue both the driver and any business your dog-walker is affiliated with. Pet professionals carry liability insurance and are acutely aware of the fact that they can be sued.

But there are of course other kinds of accidents that can happen when your pet is in the care of another. Perhaps you leave Fido at a pet hotel while you are on your person vacation and when you return he is sick, as happens to all creatures. You want the business to pay for your veterinary bills and more.

Whatever the context, negligence suits arising from pet in jury do occur all the time. But keep in mind that, although you love your animals like family, they don't have human rights. Actually, they are poperty. You may not be entitled to the extent of damages you imagined.

Breach of Pet Contracts

If you bought a pet from a breeder, say, you may also have claims for breach of contract if the animal is somehow not as claimed or if you were deliberately misled by the seller. Similarly, if you are induced into another type of agreement based on false claims -- whether for pet care or veterinary treatment -- you might make breach of contract claims.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you want to sue for animal injury or put a pet inheritance in your will, get help. Speak to a lawyer.

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