Dog Injured In Car Accident…Who Should Pay Vet Bills? Delaware Personal Injury Attorney Ben Schwartz may not have the answer, but he can explain how your auto insurance works and pays for a human person after they have been in a car accident.
Hey Folks, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,
Today we are going to answer a viewer question. This is from Kevin in Middletown, Delaware. Basically, Kevin wrote in, and he said that he was involved in a car accident in the state of Delaware. He had his dog with him in the car, and both Kevin and his dog were injured in the accident. Kevin’s medical treatment got paid for, but the dogs did not. He’s having a very hard time getting his dogs’ veterinary care paid for after the car accident.
So, he asked, why is it that a person’s medical treatment can get covered by insurance, but a dog’s medical treatment cannot get covered by insurance? It’s a very good question, it’s a situation that comes up from time to time. It’s really not uncommon and I’ll do my best to answer it as best I can. So the deal is if you’re driving or riding in a car, and the car is registered in the state of Delaware, insured in the state of Delaware, then one of the types of insurance, mandatory types of insurance, on that car is going to be personal injury protection insurance or PIP for short.
One of the things that PIP pays for is the medical treatment for an occupant of the vehicle, a human occupant of the vehicle, not an animal occupant of the vehicle. So of course Kevin, if you’re driving in your car, you live in Middletown, Delaware, your car is registered in Delaware, it’s insured in Delaware, then your insurance company sold you PIP insurance. And so your hospital bills, your doctor visits, or your physical therapy are all getting paid for by your auto insurance. The problem is that PIP isn’t providing coverage for the veterinary treatment, for the cost of the veterinary treatment for the dog. The reason is that the dog is not a person. Under Delaware law, a dog or a pet is considered personal property and so the personal injury protection, the PIP insurance is not going to cover it. To make matters worse, under Delaware law any personal property claim in a lawsuit case where you’re claiming the value of your personal property, you’re limited to the fair market value of the property.
So if you have a situation where you got a shelter dog, and we went to the SPCA you got your dog, your dog might be your best friend but under Delaware law that is a $100 article of personal property. And if you’ve got $1700 of vet bills that exceed what you can claim, as a matter of Delaware law, in a personal property claim. And so it creates this terrible situation where the law does not really make provisions for how to get those vet bills paid. Which I think is it’s a terrible situation. Dogs are man’s best friend! I know some people out there on the Internet are going to see this and say NO cats are man’s best friend, No they’re really not! Dogs are man’s best friend. And so I think the law should be changed or modified to make some provisions to pay for vet bills after your dog is injured in a car accident.
Folks if you’re watching this video I’d be interested to know what you think, and how you feel, about this topic. I’d be interested in what you think could be done to improve the situation for dogs who are injured in car accidents and for dog owners whose animals are injured in car accidents, who get stuck footing the bill for the veterinary care and treatment. It is an unfortunate situation but it’s something that I think, hopefully, you’ll watch this video, and say, this is a conversation starter. Something needs to be done, something can be done. It’s just a question of what is it, that has to get done in order to fix this bad situation
I’m attorney Ben Schwartz please leave a comment on this video or send an e-mail. My e-mail address is Ben.Schwartz@SchwartzandSchwartz.com.
Thanks for watching!