Am I liable if someone hits and kills my dog on road and it damages their vehicle?

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Am I liable if someone hits and kills my dog on road and it damages their vehicle?

I live in a rural area. My dog was hit and killed while in the road. Later that car owner stopped at my house, gave me their name and number and said that I owed them $2000 in damages. My dog was only 4 months old and the SUV bumper has extensive damage on front and side. Am I liable? Do they need to have proof that they hit the dog? What is my responsibility?

Asked on April 30, 2018 under Accident Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) Legally, if you allowed your dog to run around outside (it wasn't in a fenced yard, wasn't on a leash or restrained by an "invisible" or "electronic" fence, etc.), then you are likely liable for their car damage. It is negligent or careless to let a dog run around unrestrained, where it could get hit by a car, damage someone's property (chew something or dig up a yard), injure or kill another person's animal (e.g. a cat or smaller dog), or bite a person. Negligence makes you liable for the damage caused by the negligence.
2) "Proof" can be as simple as their testimony in court that your go ran in front of their car, assuming they are credible or believeable. So while they do have to prove their case, that doesn't require forensic or documentary proof: credible testimony, coupled with repair estimates to establish the cost, may well be enough.


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