Can You Recover Compensation for a Hurt Pet in a Car Accident?

May 23, 2023 | Car Accidents

Individuals enjoy bringing their pets along for rides in the car. This can include a short jaunt to the dog park or a longer ride throughout the state or across the country. However, who is responsible for paying vet bills and other pet expenses if your animal is injured in a car accident? Here, our Round Rock car accident attorney is going to to review compensation options when it comes to injured pets and vehicle accidents in Texas.

Pets Are Classified as Property

Our pets, at least for most of us, become like members of the family. We take care of our little animals (or big animals) and watch them grow up. They come along with us in the car because we want them around us.

We understand that classifying pets as “property” seems harsh. Just saying it out loud sounds wrong. But, the best way for individuals to receive reimbursement for injuries to their pet or the death of a pet is for the pet to be classified as property. It would simply be too difficult to create a separate tier of insurance to handle pet injuries, so classifying them as property allows compensation through an existing mechanism in the law.

If your pet suffers an injury in a vehicle accident, it is likely that you will take the pet to an animal clinic or vet. Veterinary fees can be incredibly costly, but there is the likelihood that you will be able to include the vet bills in your claim against the at-fault driver.

However, every policy is worded differently. It is crucial to examine your insurance policy as well as the insurance policy of the at-fault driver in order to understand how much compensation you may be able to receive. Additionally, some types of pets may be excluded, including exotic reptiles, birds, and horses.

Texas Car Insurance Requirements

Every driver is required to carry insurance in the state of Texas. Under current law, every driver must maintain the following types and minimums of insurance in order to remain legal on the roadway:

  • Bodily injury liability: $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $25,000

Keep in mind that the property damage liability coverage is where the money will come from to pay for any pet injuries. Additionally, if an at-fault driver only has the minimum coverage, then that $25,000 will have to be spread around to all types of property damages included in the accident, including damage to the vehicle.

Do You Need an Attorney?

If your pet has been injured or killed in a vehicle accident caused by the negligent actions of another driver in the state of Texas, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. These claims can be very challenging, particularly when it comes to receiving the full value of the cost of treatment for your pet.

When a skilled Austin car accident attorney gets involved, they can conduct a complete investigation into the entire incident, handle all negotiations with the insurance carriers, and even prepare your claim for trial if necessary to receive the compensation you are entitled to for all of your injury and property damage expenses, including injuries to your pet.