It’s difficult to find anyone that hasn’t had a pet at some point in their life. A recent APPA national survey found that 67% of American households have at least one pet. That works out to about 84.9 million homes across the country.
To most Americans, their pets are a part of the family. They entertain, comfort, and provide support for people in too many ways to list. When something goes wrong and a precious pet gets hurt, the great majority of pet owners will feel the same worry, sadness, and anxiety that they would feel if any human member of their family was hurt.
As Las Vegas car accident attorneys, we are most often working on behalf of a person that has been injured. Sometimes, however, it’s not just people who get hurt in an accident. It’s very common for people to travel with their pets and, unfortunately, they get hurt in auto accidents, too.
Property Liability Coverage Can Help When Your Pet Is Injured In A Car Accident
Most pet owners don’t know that they can claim compensation for their pet’s injuries or death in a car accident. It doesn’t quite work the same as an injury to a human being, though.
Under Nevada law, pets are considered personal property. You might not like that definition, but the fact that pets are considered property actually helps. Animals are not the same as people as far as car insurance goes, so their classification as property allows you to make a claim against property liability coverage when they are hurt or killed in an accident.
It is important to note, however, that because it is liability insurance, you can only file a claim if you are not more at fault for the car accident than other drivers. You would make a claim against the insurance of the at-fault driver, not your own.
Filing A Lawsuit When Your Pet Is Injured Or Killed In A Car Accident
Under Nevada Revised Statutes §41.740, pet owners have the right to file a lawsuit when someone injures or kills their pet. The law is somewhat limited and very specific about what you can claim, however.
- Pet owners can not sue for pain and suffering.
- Claims are limited to domesticated dogs and cats only. The law does not cover other types of animals such as birds or more exotic pets.
- Pet owners can claim damages for veterinary care costs, any reduction of market value caused by an injury.
- If the pet is killed, the owner can claim reasonable burial expenses as well as the market value of the pet.
- The owner can claim reasonable attorney fees.
- The award for damages is limited to $5,000 for each pet involved in the accident.
The “market value” of a pet can be difficult to determine. Generally speaking, courts will look at what it would cost to buy another dog or cat of the same breed. Older animals may be considered to have a lower market value than younger animals such as puppies or kittens.
Keep Track Of Expenses Due To Your Pet’s Injury
It will be necessary to prove the costs you’ve incurred because of the injury to your pet just as you would for a personal injury claim involving any person. For that reason, it’s important that you keep receipts for veterinary bills, medicines, prosthetics, or anything else you have to pay for in order to care for your pet’s injuries.
Speak With A Qualified Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney
If you and/or your pet have been injured as the result of a car accident, it’s important to speak with a qualified and experienced accident attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer will be able to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact us for a free consultation. We’ll be glad to go over the details of your case and discuss how we can help you. You can contact us anytime online or call 866-412-7166 to schedule an appointment.