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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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

Asked on February 15, 2017 under Accident Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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