Are the owners of the dog I hit liable for the damages to my car?

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Are the owners of the dog I hit liable for the damages to my car?

I hit a dog in town. The police were called no report filed and I noticed there
was damage to my car when I got home. I got an estimate for the damage at an
auto body business. I will cost approximately 800 to fix and I cannot afford it.
So I am wondering if the owners of this dog should have to pay for the damage
to my car due to the fact that their pat was not on a leash or contained in a
fence?

Asked on February 15, 2017 under Accident Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends on fault--not just their fault, but your fault, too, since to the degree you were at fault, that would reduce, possibly even eliminate, their liability. So if the dog was running loose into traffic, they are at fault for that, because it is negligent, or careless, to not secure your dog. That would argue in favor of them paying, and is something you could sue based on (their negligence). But if you were also negligent, such as speeding, or you ran through a stop light/sign to hit the dog, or were texting while driving, or were DUI, etc., that fault would reduce your ability to recover compensation. In fact, if you were enough at fault, they could sue you for the dog.


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