Do you have recourse if someone commits an act of negligence which injures your pet? A recent case has expanded the rights of pet owners in terms of what can be recovered when someone else negligently causes an injury to a pet.
In the case of Plotnik vs. Meihaus the court permitted the owner of a dog to recover emotional distress damages. In this case a neighbor had attacked and injured the plaintiff’s dog. Veterinary and subsequent medical bills were around $2800. The neighbor who was responsible for the attack was sued by the owner of the injured dog to recover the costs of these medical bills, as well as the emotional distress the dog owner was forced to endure throughout the ordeal.
In general a dog or other pet is considered personal property, and it is very difficult to recover damages other than damages to repair the item of personal property. In the case of a pet this would include medical bills.
The court in this case has recognized the importance and significance of a pet. A cause of action for trespass was permitted, under which the dog owner could recover emotional distress damages. In addition, punitive damages would be available under the Civil Code if the injury to the dog was found to be intentional. The court also expressed an opinion that a case could be made for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, under which emotional distress damages could also be recovered.
We continue to monitor the expansion of the rights of pets under California and the expanding potential for the breadth of damages a pet owner can recover if another person commits an act of negligence which injures your pet.
Have you, someone you love or a beloved pet been injured due to the negligence of another in a car accident, dog attack or other form of negligence? My name is Rivers Morrell and after more than 40 years of experience in these cases I will work to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. There is no cost to you out of pocket as we work on a contingency fee basis.
I invite you to review the strong recommendations of former clients and the legal industry and contact us or call 949-305-1400 to speak with me personally for a free consultation.