What If My Pet Was Injured in A Car Accident?
It breaks your heart to see your pet needlessly suffer. If your pet dies as a result of a car accident, it may take years for you to recover from the loss of your pet’s love and companionship. If you are a pet breeder, or you show pets, you may also lose a valuable source of income. Even if your pet is fortunate enough to survive the car accident, you will soon be overwhelmed with crippling veterinarian bills.
If your pet is seriously injured in a car accident, you should contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer at Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers. We will explain all of your legal options so that you understand how to recover compensation for your losses.
How Do I Measure The Value Of My Injured Pet?
In Georgia, pets are considered “chattel” which is a term used to describe personal property. If your pet died as the result of someone’s carelessness, you can only recover the fair market value of your pet, plus interest, and any reasonable medical costs and other expenses that you incurred treating your pet for its injuries.
Unfortunately, the “fair market value” of your pet does not include its sentimental value. “Fair market value” refers to the value that your pet might have had if it was sold. That value would typically be based upon your pet’s breed, age, training, temperament, and use.
For owners that adopted rescue animals, it may be difficult to establish the “fair market value” of your pet using those criteria because you may not know your pet’s official age, or whether your pet had specific training, or a specific use before you adopted it. However, if you are a pet breeder or you show animals, you may have documentation to prove the fair market value of your pet.
Fortunately, even if it’s challenging to prove the fair market value of your pet, you can at least recover compensation for your pet’s veterinarian bills if your pet was injured due to someone’s negligence.
Can I Recover Compensation For My Emotional Distress?
If you and your pet were both injured in the same car accident, you can potentially recover compensation from the at fault driver due to the emotional distress you experienced while watching your pet suffer.
Georgia law permits an accident injury victim to recover damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress. However, the victim must have suffered a physical injury in order to pursue a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. That means if you were not in the car accident (or if you were in the car accident, but did not suffer a physical injury), you could not recover damages for the emotional distress you experienced due to watching your pet suffer from its car accident injuries.
Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers Can Help
The attorneys at Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers are proud dog owners. We keenly understand the boundless love that pet owners experience every time that they make eye contact with their pets. If your pet was seriously injured in a car accident, we urge you to contact our law firm. We will listen to your story, ease your suffering, and help you recover fair compensation for your losses.