Does the owner of a dog have sole liablity for dog that was hit by a car?

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Does the owner of a dog have sole liablity for dog that was hit by a car?

I have a 3 year old son, who now has learned to open the door in the last few days. He opened it today and our dog ran out, it was hit by a car. Inititaly she didn’t stop until several people waved her down. She told me that she was having a bad day and was talking on the phone. She didn’t see the dog. She won’t give me her name or address. But I do have her car tag. My question is Shouldn’t she be partially resposible for the vet bill? I believe I should pay t he chunk of the bill, but I believe her inatentive driving played a part as well. Thank you.

Asked on May 31, 2009 under Accident Law, Kansas

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I don't know what exactly happened, and I don't know how well you will be able to prove that this woman had a chance to miss the dog.  If she couldn't have avoided the accident, as sometimes happens with dogs taking off like that, then it doesn't matter that she wasn't paying attention.  But if her inattention contributed to the accident, then its negligence.

I'm not a Kansas attorney.  In some states, it's against the law to talk on a cell phone, without a hands-free setup, while driving.  Unfortunately, Kansas hasn't gotten there yet;  my research suggests that the Kansas legislature has passed your state's first law on the subject.  It will make using cell phones illegal while driving -- for drivers on learner's permits.  It goes into effect on January 1, 2010.

If you want reliable advice on how to deal with this, you need to get all the facts to a local attorney.  One place to find qualified lawyers is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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