Dog’s medical bills?

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Dog’s medical bills?

I was driving down the street and got rear-ended. A bit upset, I opened the door to

get out to assess the situation and check on the other driver. Apparently my dog

was more upset, as he bolted out the driver’s door like he never did before. The

dog ran in front of a car and got hit. He received 2 broken legs later I received and a $6000 vet bill. Who should pay for this? Without being rear-ended, my dog would not have needed medical attention.

Asked on December 7, 2016 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you will have to pay, unless the driver who hit your dog was him/herself driving negligently or carelessly (e.g. speeding). The problem for you is:
1) If the driver who hit the dog was not driving carelessly, he or she is not liable.
2) As for the driver who hit you, a driver who is as fault--as that one most likely was, if you were rear-ended--is only liable for the reasonably forseeable, or basically common and logically predictable, consequences of the accident. A dog jumping out of a car and being hit by another car is not at all common, foreseeable, or a logical consequence of hitting a car; therefore, that driver would not be liable.
3) Furthermore, had you secured your dog in the car, or taken care to make sure it could not jump out, it would not have been injured. That means that was an intervening or supervening cause to the injury (you opening the door and lettting it out) and/or that your own negligence (not making sure the dog was secured) caused the injury: either or both would also prevent the other driver from being liable.


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