Dog’s medical bills?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Dog’s medical bills?

I was driving down the street and got rear-ended. A bit upset, I opened the door to

get out to assess the situation and check on the other driver. Apparently my dog

was more upset, as he bolted out the driver’s door like he never did before. The

dog ran in front of a car and got hit. He received 2 broken legs later I received and a $6000 vet bill. Who should pay for this? Without being rear-ended, my dog would not have needed medical attention.

Asked on December 7, 2016 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you will have to pay, unless the driver who hit your dog was him/herself driving negligently or carelessly (e.g. speeding). The problem for you is:
1) If the driver who hit the dog was not driving carelessly, he or she is not liable.
2) As for the driver who hit you, a driver who is as fault--as that one most likely was, if you were rear-ended--is only liable for the reasonably forseeable, or basically common and logically predictable, consequences of the accident. A dog jumping out of a car and being hit by another car is not at all common, foreseeable, or a logical consequence of hitting a car; therefore, that driver would not be liable.
3) Furthermore, had you secured your dog in the car, or taken care to make sure it could not jump out, it would not have been injured. That means that was an intervening or supervening cause to the injury (you opening the door and lettting it out) and/or that your own negligence (not making sure the dog was secured) caused the injury: either or both would also prevent the other driver from being liable.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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