Three Things You Should Know About Compensation For Pets Injured In Auto Accidents

State laws govern the issue of pets injured in car accidents. Therefore, don't assume anything if your pet is injured in a car crash; what you think is true may be very different from the reality. Here are three essential things to know about pets injured in such accidents:

Pets Are Property

You may consider your pet a family member, but the law usually disagrees; most states consider pets as personal property. On one side, this is good because you will be compensated for your pet just as you would be compensated for damaged property. In the case of a damaged or totally destroyed property, you expect to be compensated for the repair costs or the value of the property, respectively. For a pet, expect compensation for veterinary bills or value of the pet (if they don't recover). On the other hand, this classification of pets means you won't be able to recover the kinds of damages usually reserved for injured loved ones, such as pain and suffering.

A Lawsuit May Not Be Financially Worthwhile 

As described above, pets are considered property, and this leads to limited recovery of damages. This can be problematic if you file a lawsuit because you will have to prove that the accident caused your pet its injuries, and prove the value of the injuries too. For example, you may need the help of a veterinarian to act as an expert witness to prove that your pet did not have preexisting injuries.

Unfortunately, lawsuits aren't cheap, and, you may end up spending more on your lawsuit than you can recover from the settlement. In fact, injury attorneys know this, which means your lawyer may be reluctant to pursue the case on a contingency basis. Your best bet, therefore, is to aim for negotiation and an out-of-court settlement.

Insurance May or May Not Cover the Pet

Whether or not your auto insurance extends to your pet largely depends on who was at fault for the accident. In most cases, your insurer will not compensate you for the pet if you caused the accident.  Most insurers will pay for your car's repairs and damage to personal property while excluding your pets. You don't have to worry about this if another motorist caused the accident because their insurer will foot the bill.

The best way to ensure you get the compensation you deserve is to let an automobile accident lawyer handle the issue on your behalf.