Hitting a dog while driving can cause a serious accident. If you swerve or step on the brakes to avoid hitting the animal, you could crash into another car or object, and the crash can cause serious head injuries, back trauma, and other serious or even permanent injuries.
Even if you walk away without a scratch, the trauma of hitting an animal can be significant. You may also have to pay for veterinary bills and your car may suffer damages as well. In these situations, the owner of the dog is generally considered liable since they are responsible for ensuring their pet does not run loose. You may have a claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s policy or you may have other legal options.
If you have hit a dog with your car, there are several things you will want to do:
1) Put on your flashers and pull over.
If possible, get the car out of the way of traffic so you do not cause a secondary car accident. Make your car visible.
2) Check on the dog – but approach cautiously.
Never leave the scene of the accident, even if no other person was hurt. Offering help to the dog can save its life. Leaving an animal to die can mean you are charged with animal cruelty in some cases. Since hurt animals may bite or attack out of fear or pain, approach the injured animal.
3) Get help for the animal.
Contact a local veterinarian hospital or animal control. If possible, transport the animal to a vet. Otherwise, remain with the animal or follow the directions offered by the vet or animal control. Your primary concern should be to get life-saving treatment for the animal.
In these cases, the pet owner will take care of the bills if the owner can be found. If not, the veterinarian may charge you for the animal’s care.
4) Start documenting.
As with all traffic accidents, you will need to document your collision. Take photos the accident scene, any injuries you have sustained, and any damages to your car. If the dog was not wearing a leash or collar, you will want to take photos of that as well, in case you need to prove the dog was not properly restrained. If possible, get contact information for any witnesses.
Even if you do not plan on making a claim, it is important to get documentation in case the dog’s owner attempts to make a claim against you.
5) Make a claim.
If you have suffered any injuries or damages (including car repairs or vet bills) you may want to make a claim. Depending on the specifics of the case, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company or with
If you have been in a car accident in Hollywood or anywhere in South Florida and your car accident involved a dog, the pet’s owner may be liable for the accident and any injuries you have sustained. You may also have other options.
To explore all the legal avenues open to you, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our legal team is proud to represent plaintiffs in Hollywood, Homestead, and Miami.