Can I Seek Compensation if My Pet Was Injured in the Car Crash?

Personal Injury • October 15, 2021

Being in a car accident is always a really difficult experience, especially when injuries are sustained. What makes it even worse is if our pets are in the car with us and they receive injuries too. Many people often wonder what can be done if they or their pets suffer injuries. If the other driver is at fault, who is responsible for paying for the animal’s medical expenses? 

Who is Responsible if My Pet is Injured in a Car Crash?

Under New Jersey law, pets are considered personal property. Therefore, if you are in a car accident that is someone else’s fault and your pet is injured, you should be able to seek compensation for your pets’ injuries. This will include medical expenses and any treatment and rehabilitation costs that you have to pay.

In terms of car accidents, New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning people involved in a car accident generally turn to their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy to cover their injuries. However, New Jersey PIP does not cover property damage, and since pets are typically considered property, personal injury protection would not provide compensation for injures to your pet. Further, the collision coverage you have through your own car insurance should compensate you for damages to your car, but not for any injuries that occur to your pet. In order to receive compensation for injuries to your pet, you will likely have to go through the other driver’s car insurance policy to obtain compensation for personal property such as an animal. 

What Compensation Can I Recover?

If you’re able to successfully file a claim against the at-fault driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your pet’s medical bills. It’s important to keep any hospital records or receipts so you can show the insurance company exactly how much you’re entitled to. Under New Jersey law, you can file a lawsuit with the help of a Jersey City car accident attorney for a wide range of compensation for your pet’s injury or death in a car crash due to another driver’s negligence, including the following: 

  • The monetary value of your pet
  • Veterinary bills
  • Expenses you spent trying to treat your pet’s injury 
  • Cost of specialized training for a service dog, guide dog, or search and rescue dog
  • Compensation of up to $5,000 for the loss of the companionship, affection, and love of the animal

Statute of Limitations 

In all types of personal injury cases, there is a statute of limitations. This means you must file a lawsuit before specific deadlines pass or you will lose out on any compensation you otherwise would’ve been entitled to. In New Jersey, the deadline to file a claim is two years. 

While this sounds like a long time, it can pass quickly. Witnesses forget what happened, people move away, and accident documents can get misplaced. You want to make sure you contact a lawyer as soon as possible so you can recover the maximum amount of compensation possible and to ensure you can help treat your pet and get the justice you and they deserve.