who is responsible for vehicle damage in NYS

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who is responsible for vehicle damage in NYS

I hit a neighbor’s dog who ran out of the home and then ran away.
The dog appears to be fine. They are asking for vet bills and time from work. I
suffered car damage. I submitted 2 estimates and they said they would contact
their insurance under home owners. After I said I am not liable for their vet bills
they refused to contact the insurance company. I have a police report and am
going to small claims court. I am trying to ascertain NYS law in this regard as to
liability for auto damage and an unleash law.

Asked on July 2, 2018 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It's all about who was negligent or careless in this specific case. If they were taking reasonable steps to keep the dog confined but it managed to get out despite their reasonable care, they were not careless; but if they left the door open without paying attention and that's how it got out, they *were* careless. If you were driving too fast, not paying attention, etc., you were careless; but if you were driving carefully and at the speed limit, you were not. To oversimplify:
* If they were careless and you were not, they are liable for your car damage and you do not have to pay vet bills.
* If you were careless and they were not, you have to pay their vet bills and pay for your own car damage.
* If neither of you were careless, or if you were both equally careless, you each pay your own bills.


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