It is not a surprise hitting a dog is as trauamtic to many people as hitting a human. The Veterinary care of the dog and the damage to your vehicle may result in substantial costs, this post will explain what you can expect to deal with post-accident.
In The Immediate Aftermath Of The Accident
When a dog has been injured after being struck by a car, you need to tend to the dog as best you can. Remember they are in distress and scared. Because of this, wounded animals can become aggressive. Never try to move a dog you are not familiar with. If the road is busy and the dog needs to be moved, use a jacket or a blanket to cover the dog and move the animal from the road only as a final resort.
Many states have heavy penalties for a hit and run when a dog is involved. So call the Police or Animal Control straight away and do not leave the scene.
If there is a collar with a tag, see if there is a number you can call on there.
If the dog must be moved try to restrain it in some way.
Never Drive Away From The Scene
Most states have laws stating if you strike a domestic animal with your vehicle, it is mandatory to stop and notify the appropriate authority. This newspaper article quotes a police chief in Connecticut, who says: “If you hit a dog and stop, we’d go out and make a record of it. There’s generally no arrest. But, if you hit a dog, you have to stop. You have to call the police,” he said. “The big issue is the failure to stop to render aid.” Generally speaking, the responsibility for the accident will not fall on you if you make a reasonable effort to save the life of the animal – the responsibility will fall upon the owner of the dog.
When The Dog Has Died
Firstly, do not leave the scene, even though that may be what you want to do. If the dog has deceased, remove the body from traffic and call either animal control or police and report the incident, so the body may be picked up. When speaking to the owner of the animal, even though your car may have damage, try to be compassionate, it is very likely the owner of the dog was will be devastated and going through a grief process for their lost pet.
Costs of Veterinary Care
In normal circumstances, the owner of the dog is often responsible for the decision on the course of the treatment and for covering all the expenses. In circumstances where the owners cannot be located, the cost can fall upon the person who brought the animal to the vet. This is why it is important to call police or animal control. If you do take the animal to the vet, check with the clinic to establish what you should expect.
You will probably not liable for the veterinary costs of the dog unless you intentionally hit the dog or were driving in a negligent manner – but what about damage to your vehicle?
Comprehensive car insurance coverage covers repairs to physical damage to a vehicle caused by hitting an animal. But when the animal is a dog, it may be handled differently. In many states, the insurance company will pursue the owner of the dog. When the owner cannot be located, the comprehensive coverage will kick in.
The owner of the dog is said to be responsible or at-fault as the dog should not have been on the road. The homeowner’s insurance policy of the dog owner would pick up such a claim under its liability coverage. Usually, there is no deductible for these claims. Undoubtedly, though there will be a surcharge when the policy is renewed. If you lack comprehensive coverage, you can go to the carrier of the home insurance of the dog owner. The owner would have to admit responsibility if a police report was never filed.
In circumstances where you, unfortunately, hit your own dog, it may be seen as an at-fault accident resulting in a collision claim. Your insurance carrier will decide how to handle it.
Never Leave An Injured Dog
It is cruel to leave an injured dog. be courageous, be comforting and do the right thing. If you leave, you may be cited for animal cruelty. No-one wants to handle this situation, but it may save the life of the dog and it is your responsibility to handle the situation in the best way you can.
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