If my dog was hit and killed by a car and the driver wants my insurance to pay for damage to the car, is the driver responsible at all for the loss of my dog?

Asked on September 14, 2012 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The issue of who is responsible for what depends on who is at fault; and fault in this context typically depends on negligence, or unreasonable carelessness. To use two examples:

1) The driver was driving carefully, within the speed limit; you were playing with your dog on the front lawn and threw the ball into traffic, so that your dog followed. You were careless, the driver was not, you would likely be liable for the damage to his car.

2) You were walking your dog on a leash when the driver, going too fast and talking on his cell phone, ran your dog over. You were not careless, but he was; he is likely liable for the death of your dog (though all you can recover is the cost of your dog, vet bills (if the dog received care), the cost of cremation, etc.--you can't get pain and suffering or emotional damages for the loss of a pet).

And there are situations where both parties are at fault, and you weigh or offset their respective faults against each other, to determine their relative liability.

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