Whose fault is it if a car hits your dog?

Of course, your dog is family. If a car hits your dog and caused an injury you’d rush him the hospital for emergency treatment. Whatever the cost, you’d pay it. You’d do everything you could if it meant healing your dog and restoring his playfulness and health. It’s possible the accident will make you feel so angry, you might decide to make a liability claim against the driver.

If you consider your pet a member of the family, you probably won’t like the legal reality of scenarios such as this. It might surprise you to learn that as the dog’s owner, you’re probably legally responsible for the damages to the car and for your dog’s injuries.

A dog’s status is gradually changing. In many countries and in some American states, cats and dogs are considered sentient beings and afforded more legal rights.

In Connecticut, however, pets are still considered the owner’s legal property. If he’s injured in an accident, the injuries might be considered “property damage.”

Connecticut General Statutes include a long list of dog-related provisions under Chapter 435 “Dog and Other Companion Animals. Kennels and Pet Shops.” CGS § 22-350 specifically defines a dog as “property.”

It’s your legal duty to control your dog

As with most states, Connecticut structures its laws to protect vulnerable persons from harm. Laws address the concern that a roaming dog might attack and injure someone.

State laws protect others by requiring owners to prevent their dogs from roaming unrestrained (CGS § 22-332). When a dog runs into the street and gets hit by a car, it serves as proof that the owner didn’t meet this legal requirement.

Making an Insurance claim

If a car hits your dog in the street, the liability insurance carriers customarily denies liability for the dog’s injuries. Secondly, they consider the dog’s actions (and your actions) as the “proximate cause” of the accident. As laws allow property owners to collect damages from the responsible party, the owner might choose to make a claim against you.

Protect your dog

When you keep your dog in the house or in a fenced-in yard, you protect both of you from the consequences of his impulsive acts. Be sure to talk to your vet if you feel your dog’s urge to “escape” might be due to a medical or behavioral issue.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

Visit our contact page. Or give us a call at (860) 228-4324 if your dog sustains injuries in an accident and requires immediate care. For an after-hours emergency, leave a message at our emergency number: (860) 266- 5995. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.