What To Do If You Hit A Dog With Your Car?

What To Do If You Hit A Dog With Your Car?
Calendar icon December 7, 2022


Car accidents can happen at any time and can involve anyone or anything that is on the roadways or surrounding walkways depending on the severity of the accident.

While most people don’t ever want to think about the reality that an accident – whether with another vehicle, animal, or person – can happen to them, it’s important to know what to do if this situation becomes a reality.

So, do you want to know what to do if you hit a dog with your car? You may be wondering what you are legally required to do in this instance. Let’s take a look.

What Should You Do If You Hit a Dog With Your Car?

If you happen to hit a dog, cat, or any other animal with your vehicle in New York State, you are legally required to stop as you would with any other type of accident. Here’s what to do if you strike a dog while driving.

  1. Pull over to the side of the road if your car is in driving condition and check for injuries on yourself or your passengers.
  2. Call the police. Be as specific as possible about your location and details surrounding your accident.
  3. Approach the animal, but exercise caution. If the animal is alive and injured, they may try to bite or scratch out of fear.
  4. If the dog has a tag, check for the owner’s name and number. If there are people nearby, you can also ask if they recognize the dog.
  5. Call animal control if no owner information is available. They can make sure the dog is taken to receive proper veterinary care and can scan for microchips.
  6. Contact your insurance company to notify them of the accident and any damages to your vehicle as a result of the collision.

Failure to stop after hitting a dog, cat, or any other domesticated animal can result in charges, fines or legal action against you and can be considered animal cruelty. Generally, if you stop to make a reasonable effort to assist the animal after an accident, the legal responsibility in most – but not all – cases will fall on the owner of the animal for allowing the dog to run loose.

When Will You Be Responsible for Hitting a Dog With Your Car?

It is the dog owner’s responsibility to ensure that their pet is not running loose by means of leash, fencing, or securing their pet indoors. If the dog is running freely without human supervision, the law may find negligence on the part of the owner instead of the driver.
However, if the crash is partially caused by negligence on the driver’s part, the driver may be found liable for the value of the pet. In New York, pets are considered to be property for insurance purposes.

Therefore, if the dog is running loose when you hit it, the owner would most likely be responsible for covering the associated veterinary bills. If the driver intentionally hit the animal or was driving recklessly at the time of the accident, the driver of the vehicle would likely be responsible for covering the dog’s veterinary costs. If you acted intentionally to injure the dog, you may have to cover any veterinary bills, end-of-life care, or burial costs without the help of insurance.

What Does My Insurance Cover If You Hit A Dog With Your Car?

Liability coverage will not pay for any damages to your car if you hit a dog or other animal. Instead, your comprehensive coverage can help to pay for any damage that was caused by the collision. You would need to pay your deductible after filing a claim, and your insurer would cover the remaining cost of repair.

Additionally, your insurance provider may request that the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance cover the cost of the damages if they are found to be fully or partially negligent.

What If Your Dog Was Hit By A Car?

If your dog was hit by a car, you most likely will have little legal recourse toward the driver unless you can prove that the driver was acting recklessly or hit your pet intentionally.

If your dog managed to escape from your home, yard, or its leash, you may be considered negligent in the eyes of the law. In this instance, any veterinary bills will fall to you. In addition, you may have to rely on your homeowner’s insurance to pay for any repairs for the vehicle that was involved.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.

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