It’s not unlikely to see Atlanta residents drive around with their pets in their cars. Dogs and cats usually enjoy these car privileges. Unfortunately, when accidents happen, these animals can sustain injuries or die. When pets are injured in accidents, owners often don’t know what to do. That’s why Atlanta car accident lawyers are crucial.
An excellent lawyer would know whether your pet’s injuries are compensable. This is important because of the high veterinary fees. Even if the animal dies, you may yet deserve compensation from the fault party. So, ensure that you hire an attorney if you get in an accident with your pet.
Georgia Law Considers Pets as Property
Georgia is a fault-accident state. So, determining the fault in every accident is vital. That’s because it’s the responsible party that compensates the accident victim. Generally, the fault party will turn to their insurance company to pay this compensation. Furthermore, the recoverable sum is often dependent on their policy amount.
Notably, Georgia law considers pets as “chattel.” This means that the law considers your pet your personal property. So, your dog is your property in the same way as your wristwatches. Consequently, you can recover compensation for your pet after an accident. You’ll have this right whether the pet only suffers wounds or dies.
How Much Is My Pet Worth?
Now, you know you can get compensation for your pets after a car crash. The next thing is to determine your pet’s value. In Atlanta, Georgia, you can only get the fair market value of your pet. This would include all reasonable expenses flowing from the car crash. Therefore, you can get the animal’s medical bills.
Notably, “fair market” value differs from “actual value.” The “fair market value” is the amount you could have sold the pet at the accident date, plus interest. This figure would depend on the pet’s breed, age, training, character, and use. You can’t get the actual market value because pets often don’t have such fixed value. Furthermore, “fair market value” doesn’t include sentimental value. So, you can’t get compensation for your emotional attachment to the pet.
Proving Your Pet’s Fair Market Value
You can prove the fair market value of your pet the same way you demonstrate the value of other personal property. So, you’ll have to tender evidence of its breed and the other qualities. Furthermore, you can call witnesses that know the pet’s value. This is based on the ruling of the Georgia Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, establishing your pet’s “fair market value” may be challenging. This would be the case where you don’t even know the dog’s age. For example, you may not know the age of a stray dog you rescued. Whatever the case, you can always get the animal’s medical bills.
Can I Get Compensation for Emotional Distress?
Seeing your pet suffer and die can cause significant emotional pain. This is because most Atlanta pet owners have their pets in their hearts. Fortunately, you can recover compensation from the fault party for this emotional distress. However, this is only a possibility in Atlanta. It isn’t as certain as recovering the pet’s actual value.
The probability is because Georgia has an “impact rule.” This rule requires that accident victims must suffer physical injuries to recover damages for emotional distress. Therefore, you’d have to survive the car accident with injuries too. If you have wounds, you can then receive compensation for the emotional pain your dog’s suffering put you through.
Restrain Your Pets While Driving
Statistics show that over 80% of people don’t restrain their dogs while traveling. That’s because they think their dogs don’t require such extra protection. However, using a restraint can save your dog’s life. This is because the dog exerts hundreds of pounds in force during a crash. In addition, this force can either injure the dog or destroy something in the car. Therefore, it’ll be best to restrain your dog while driving. It’ll also help to avoid getting distracted by it while driving.
Atlanta’s Best Auto Accident Attorneys Can Help Your Case!
Have you survived an Atlanta car accident? If you have, then you may be eligible for compensation. You can make the fault party pay for your losses. Furthermore, did your pet sustain an injury during the collision? If it did, you could also recover their fair market value.
However, you’ll need Atlanta’s best car accident lawyers. At Ted A. Greve and Associates, our attorneys have spent years helping Atlanta accident victims. We have a great track record of trial and settlement success. Therefore, we can get you and your dog the maximum compensation if you call us today.