Can I Sue for the Injury or Death of My Pet?
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What Should I Do If My Pet Has Been Injured or Killed?
If your pet has been killed or seriously injured, you should first try to talk to the person responsible for your pet’s injury or death. Although this may be an emotionally-challenging experience, you may be able to be resolved the issue without taking criminal or civil action. This might be ideal if the individual is a neighbor, family member, or acquaintance, since lawsuits can be damaging to relationships.
If you would like to press criminal charges or take civil action, you should do the following:
- Hold onto any evidence of the incident, including any bills
- Obtain the contact information to any witnesses
What Damages Can I Receive for the Injury or Death of My Pet?
- Compensation for the Value of Your Pet: This will be calculated based on the breed, age, healthy, and purchase price of your companion.
- Reimbursement for Veterinary Care: This is based on reasonable treatment and care for the animal. What is reasonable will be evaluated based on the animal’s health before injury.
- Punitive Damages for Malicious or Intentional Acts: In a civil suit, the defendant can be penalized for especially egregious acts with punitive damages.
- Damages for Mental or Emotional Distress: Depending on your state’s laws and the facts of your case, you may be able to sue for witnessing the traumatic event or for the loss of companionship and grief.
Veterinarians are required to uphold a certain professional standard of care when treating animals. If your pet was injured or killed as a result of a veterinarian's lack of competence of negligence, you may be able to bring a civil lawsuit for veterinary malpractice. If your case is successful, you may be able to recover for your expenses and losses.
Should I Contact an Attorney?
Losing a pet can be an emotional process. If previous efforts to resolve the situation have been unsuccessful, you can contact an attorney to find out if you should pursue a civil lawsuit.
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Last Modified: 12-07-2016 11:05 AM PST
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