Car Accidents Involving Pets
We live in a time when having pets and treating them like family has never been so popular. In fact, there are claims that more money is spent on pets today than on children. Alongside this phenomenon is the desire to take your pets with you everywhere you go. Unfortunately, that can become a problem if the pet is unrestrained in the vehicle and causes an accident in North Carolina. Like children, they can be very distracting, but unlike kids, they cannot be easily controlled if unrestrained. Pets escaping their yard can cause accidents as well, and sometimes these accidents are more damaging because motorists swerve to miss them and then end up colliding with another vehicle.
At Vincent-Pope Law Firm, our auto accident attorney in Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina will review and investigate your case if someone else or their pet caused the accident and harmed you and/or your pet. Contact us today at (919) 645-8255 to schedule a free, initial consultation and to learn more about your legal options.
How Pets Can Cause Car Accident Claims in North Carolina
Unrestrained pets in a vehicle can interfere with a driver operating a car and cause accidents requiring an insurance claim.
Some examples of this include where a pet:
- Gets into the driver's footwell and steps on the accelerator or brakes
- Jumps onto the driver and startles them
- Climbs on the driver's lap
- Cries to get their owner's attention
When a pet interferes with its owner's driving, it can cause an accident where the car collides with another car, cyclist, pedestrian, or object.
Pets may also escape their homes and run onto the road into oncoming traffic. When this happens, there is a risk they will be hit by a car or cause an accident when a driver tries to avoid hitting them.
Common Injuries from Car Accidents Involving Pets in North Carolina
If you are in a car accident involving a pet, the range of possible injuries is the same as in most other accidents caused by distracted driving, intoxicated driving, speeding, carelessness, weather, among other things. In accidents involving pets, you can sustain head trauma, whiplash, fractures, and bruising. Serious accidents caused by pets can also sometimes result in fatal injuries.
In addition to any injuries you sustain, your pet can also be injured. Fractures, lacerations, and internal bleeding are common injuries in pets involved in motor vehicle accidents. Especially if they are unrestrained, pets can also be killed in car accidents.
As well as these physical injuries, both you and your pet may suffer emotional trauma following an accident.
If your pet is injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you should take them to a vet as soon as possible, or ask someone else to take them if you are injured and need medical assistance.
Liability for Car Accidents in Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina that Involve Pets
Liability for car accidents involving pets is complex and depends on the circumstances of an individual case as well as the state where it happens.
It is often mandatory for you to restrain your pet while in a car. So, if your pet causes an accident while unrestrained, you are typically liable. However, if your pet is injured as a result of the negligence of another driver, they may be liable instead.
Owners of pets who escape and run onto the road causing an accident are often responsible for any damages to the other person's vehicle on the basis that they are required to keep their animal secured. Remember that though most of us view our pets as family members, laws in most states still treat pets as property, and as such, the owner is responsible for the damage caused by their property.
Remedies in North Carolina for Car Accidents with Pets
Remedies for car accidents involving pets are usually sought through an insurer.
Many collision insurance policies include coverage for pet injuries, as the law considers them the property of the owner. However, there can be limitations to this. For example, the insurance may only cover specific types of animals and only up to a certain amount. If you are a pet owner, you know that vet bills can quickly become exorbitant.
If the other driver's negligence caused the accident, you may be able to file a third-party claim with their liability insurance.
Some car insurance policies require you to purchase additional pet coverage, so it is worth reading the terms closely to understand what it does and does not cover.
If your car insurance does not cover your pets, you could consider taking out other protection, such as pet insurance.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina Today
At Vincent-Pope Law Firm, our auto accident attorney in Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina will guide you through the claims process to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for any car accident caused by another person and/or their pet. Contact us today by filling out our online form or calling us at (919) 645-8255 to schedule a free, initial consultation.