If you hit a dog and damage your car who is responsible?

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If you hit a dog and damage your car who is responsible?

2 dogs ran in front of my car, I slammed on the brakes but hit one. My car now has a cracked bumper. I could not find the owner and was concerned the dogs might be hurt so put them in my car and drove to the police station. I was told the owner did not want the dogs and there was complaints about them running loose. Police dept said either bring them back where I hit them or keep them. I also spent approximately $200 having the dog checked. Then the owner wantted his dogs back and I returned them. Also no leash law in this town.

Asked on August 4, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

Stan Helinski / McKinley Law Group

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is something called "strict liability," which often applies to dogs, but I'm not sure if it applies only to dog bites-- I would have to research that. Assuming it does, it's a question of the negligent party--how fast you were driving, if you were obeying the rules of the road, if the dog was harnessed, etc. etc. 

 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under laws of most states, owners of animals are responsible for the damages they cause. In your situation, you ran into a dog who was loose and not supervised causing damages to your car and a veterinarian bill for being concerned enough to have the dog examined.

The dog's owner is responsible for the damage to your car and reimbursing you his animal's veterinarian bill. Assuming you have insurance for your car, you might consider making a claim to your insurance carrier for its repair. Most likely you will have to pay a deductible for its repair.

You could also request the dog's owner to pay the expenses you incurred in hitting loose animal with your car and the veterinarian bill.


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