If a lady was driving too fast and hit my dog who was not on a leash, who is at fault?

My boyfriend let our dog in the front yard. He was about to leash her to take her on a walk when she bolted from the front yard, which is something she has never done before. He chased after her and once he turned the corner she was on the ground next to a car. My dog was rushed to the vet because she could not breathe. A neighbor happened to get her phone number and gave it to me. My dog’s bills are almost $3,000. When I called the lady to tell her my dog lived she admitted she saw 2 cats run across in front of her car. She was looking at the cats when she hit my dog. The cats explain why my dog ran. If she almost hit 2 cats, she should have at least slowed down or looked to see if there was anything else was following them. What if I kid had been chasing the cats? It was during the day and my dog is a 55 lbs. Yet, she made no attempt to slow down, not even after she almost hit the cats. Who is at fault? Should she have to pay part of the bill? I am unsure. This has never happened before.

Asked on June 13, 2016 under Accident Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The owner of the vehicle is liable for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable driver would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
The owner of the vehicle and driver if the driver is someone other than the owner, are liable for your dog's entire vet bill.
You should file a claim with the vehicle owner's insurance carrier.
If the case is settled with the auto insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the auto insurance company, file a lawsuit for negligence against the vehicle owner and driver.

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