What Happens When a Dog Gets Hit By a Car?

Dog Hit By Car

In most cases, people discussing car accidents are talking about injuries to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or bicyclists. However there are instances when a dog gets hit by a car, and the recourse is not so simple. It’s normal to feel bad and be stressed out when this happens, but it’s important to follow some basic steps.

How Many Dogs Get Hit By Cars Each Year?

Though there are no firm statistics about car accidents involving dogs, we can estimate that 100,000 dogs are hit by cars each year. There are tens of millions of dogs in the United States, and approximately 10,000 auto accidents are caused by unsecured dogs annually.

If you are travelling with a dog in your car, you are more at risk of an auto accident if the dog in unsecured. When a dog is secured by a seatbelt of other device, drivers are less likely to become distracted on the road.

I Hit a Dog with My Car – Now What?

The first thing a motorist needs to do if they believe they have hit a dog is to stop the car in a safe place and check on the animal. If it’s safe, move the dog so that it’s not on the road where it will be exposed to further damage, and if it’s alive, call for assistance immediately and stay on the scene until it arrives.

It’s important to exercise caution when moving injured dogs out of roadways. They may act aggressively, and bite wounds aren’t uncommon in this situation. It’s best for drivers to use jackets, gloves, or another form of protection to prevent bites to the hands.

Whether the dog is still alive or not, check for a tag with the owner’s name and number. If there’s no tag, ask anyone around if the dog is familiar or call animal control for help. They can scan the animal for a microchip and bring the dog to a vet.

Do I Need to Stop After Hitting a Dog?

Failing to stop after hitting a dog can get motorists into trouble. As with any accident, drivers are required to stop and call the authorities. If they don’t, it can lead to serious consequences. Drivers who leave the scene of the crash may even be tracked down and arrested. If, on the other hand, drivers stop to call the authorities and help the animal, they won’t be held legally liable.

Determining Liability for Dog Injures

Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their animals under control. If dogs escape their homes or yards and get hit by cars, it’s generally the owners who are held responsible. They may even be cited for failing to take care of their pets.

There is, however, a caveat. If the crash was caused by driver negligence, the driver may be held liable. A case could be made for property damage, as dogs are considered personal property in most cases. Additionally, drivers could be charged with animal cruelty if they fail to stop.

What About Damage to the Vehicle?

Drivers who hit any kind of animal at high speeds can expect some damage to their cars. Thankfully, insurance plans generally cover the repairs. It’s also possible to find the dog’s owner and file a claim so that their insurance will pay for any damages. The dog owner may be liable for allowing the animal to run free.

My Dog was Hit by a Car – Should I Hire a Lawyer?

The best approach to figuring out options after getting into an accident with a dog is to take immediate action following the crash and then call an attorney upon arriving home. A car accident lawyer will be able to offer insight into who was legally liable and can provide representation if needed.

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