Hit by car, who is at fault
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Thread: Hit by car, who is at fault

  1. #1
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    Hit by car, who is at fault

    So, if a dog is hit by a car, who is to blame? The owner or the driver?

    Just curious as to everyones thoughts. Would the fault change if it is a dog that runs loose, vs. a dog that maybe escaped chasing a cat or something?

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    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    In a pedestrian vs car accident, the driver is almost always at fault. the pedestrian would have had to jump or run suddenly into the path of the oncoming car, or be wearing lo-vis clothing at night in the middle of the road or something similar.

    If the driver could have avoided the dog but didn't make a good faith effort to do so, I'd blame the driver. Otherwise I think the dog owner has to take the blame. I don't think non-compliance with leash laws or licensing should be relevant. If the driver gets a ticket for texting while driving, then I think it has to be driver's fault.

    That's just an opinion. I'd be surprised if a driver's insurance company would ever pay on such a claim without a lawsuit or credible treat of one.

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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    In many (if not all) states in the US it's the dog owner's fault. It is the responsibility of the animal's owner to keep it confined or under leash control.

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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    I ran over two women leaving downtown Dallas one night.... Police saw it. Told me how drunk those women were and let me leave. They just suddenly walked across the road not at a crosswalk and got hit by my car. I even had hair in my windshield the next morning from the incident. So not always is it the drivers fault.

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    Senior Member PackMomma's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    It's almost sort of like hitting a deer.. dogs or other animals like cats, rabbits, etc just sort of jump out onto roads without warning and drivers cannot do much to avoid them. Its unfortunate but dogs don't have any more rights then other animals when it comes to car accidents. Fortunately for dogs though they have owners that should be responsible enough to keep them safe from these accidents. A part from strays I guess.

    If a driver blatantly hit a dog, when it could have been avoided, then yes I totally agree its the drivers fault, but I imagine that's rarely the case, and if so.. almost impossible to prove.

    I have a few times tried to be a good samaritan and prevent dog/car accidents.. I have stopped on busy roads or intersections, putting myself at risk to catch someones dog wandering around in traffic. I simply could not just let them wander around and maybe get hit. Once it was a black lab, wandering around in the middle of the night on one of Alberta's biggest highways that runs through the city, in the rain. I actually almost hit him myself, as I couldn't see him being dark and dog being black and highway slick with rain.. I swerved and slammed on my brakes, and got out and he jumped right in the truck. I was 2 blocks from the SPCA so I dropped him off.. atleast he was alive! lol

    The second time, two wiemeraners, dodging in and out traffic on another very busy route in the city. I was stopped at a light waiting to turn left, so I jumped out, managed to grab one of them by the collar, they were extremely frightened, but I grabbed the one and the other followed, threw them in the back of the truck and the intersection was a block from my house so as I'm driving down my street, this guy comes running out waving me down, as he see's the dogs in the back of the truck "those are my dogs! where did you find them!?". I was very surprised those two didn't get hit.. I nearly got hit saving them, but I felt it was the right thing to do. However, it was the owners fault they were wandering around in traffic in the first place. He told me once he retrieved his dogs from my truck that they managed to escape from the back yard.... well, unfortunately its still owners fault if they can't properly contain their dogs. Just my opinion though.

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    Senior Member KaywinnitLee's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    I would say the owner is at fault for not controlling their dog.

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    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    The owner is at fault regardless of WHY their dog was not under their control.
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    Senior Member Gigit's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    The dog shouldn't be running around loose, making it the owner's fault.

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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    Does anyone know--if the dog caused damage to the car, would the owner be on the hook for damages? Or do the insurance companies view it as an "act of nature" like hitting a deer?

    I agree that morally it's the owner's fault (unless the driver swerves out of his way to purposely hit the dog--which is far too common). I don't know the legalities of it, though.
    Last edited by Willowy; 01-05-2012 at 12:15 PM.

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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    At my last agility facility (I rhyme some of the time) there was a situation where a girl had two black labs. She refused to keep them on lead. Thought she didn't need to, that they were too well trained.

    They weren't really all that well trained. Opal was better behaved. Her labs were known for coming in the facility and having "accidents" on the mats. I don't know what she didn't take them to potty before the lesson, but whatever.

    She was a hapless kind of person.

    Anyway. Opal and I had to leave early one night from class, but on the night we left early, apparently an accient occured after class. Bear in mind, class was at 8:30 pm in a country area (read, not well lit). One of this woman's dogs was hit and it was a bad accident and the dog broke a leg.

    The dog was hit by a trainer. Not sure which trainer. I only got this second hand.

    No one heard from her until a vet bill was sent to the facility.

    I don't know what happened, but I know the facility ended up paying for the vet bill, but now they have this really strict rule that all dogs must be on a leash at all times, with the exception of when the dog is actually running a course.

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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    Quote Originally Posted by Willowy View Post
    Does anyone know--if the dog caused damage to the car, would the owner be on the hook for damages? Or do the insurance companies view it as an "act of nature" like hitting a deer?

    I agree that morally it's the owner's fault (unless the driver swerves out of his way to purposely hit the dog--which is far too common). I don't know the legalities of it, though.
    If you have collision, the comprehensive coverage will pay, same as if you hit a cow or deer or telephone pole. Given enough information, they might even investigate and try to recover from the dog owner, if it sounds promising.

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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    Senior Member Lamora's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    If a driver blatantly hit a dog, when it could have been avoided, then yes I totally agree its the drivers fault, but I imagine that's rarely the case, and if so.. almost impossible to prove
    .

    We had someone hit our dog like this, you could see the tire tracks in the snow, She wasnt even in the road. He went straight off the road to hit our Suzie. Come to find out the "person", for the lack of a better word, was doing that to any dog he seen.

    In country tho, dogs run loose, but this was just plain murder. imo. this happend 30 yrs ago, still upsets us to think about it.
    Last edited by Lamora; 01-05-2012 at 02:16 PM.
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    So, if someones dogwas hit.and killed, would you.consider them.an irresponsible owner?

    Like if the dog was on a long lead, but darted in front of a vehicle?

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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    Or what about a dog with a thought solid recall, that didn't work when a rabbit ran out?

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    Senior Member Tofu_pup's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    IMO, it is nearly always the owner's fault with the exception of people flying off the road to intentionally hit a dog.

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    Senior Member spotted nikes's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    Quote Originally Posted by juliemule View Post
    Or what about a dog with a thought solid recall, that didn't work when a rabbit ran out?
    I'd blame the owner. It IS irresponsible to have a dog offleash, and not have it under control. If they "thought" it was solid, but the dog went after a squirrel, then they were wrong, so it is still their fault. VERY FEW dogs should be allowed off leash in my opinion. Most people have dogs that aren't nearly as trained as they think. Those dogs end up paying for their owner's irresponsibility/ignorance with their lives at times.

    Even people who have their dogs in fenced yards, and a kid or utility worker opens the gate, and lets the dog out, are irresponsible, if they didn't have the gate padlocked. There are ways to make things pretty safe. Accidents can happen, like a faulty collar/leash breaking and a dog gets loose, but those things are far rarer than preventable things. But a lot of people won't padlock gates for instance, because it inconveniences them to have to unlock it to use it.

    I'm harder on owners than on dogs, because, people have the ability to use their brains. Some just don't. I give leeway to people that get a new dog and it jumps a fence that is pretty high, and would normally contain most dogs.
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    My neighbor's 110 pound dog was fatally hit by a car. The dog almost made it home to die. The car was damaged. The driver took the owner information off of the tag and notified our neighbors that their dog was dead.

    My nieghbors insurance ended up paying for the damage to the car.

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    Senior Member sassafras's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    If the dog is off leash, I think it's almost always the dog owner's fault, unless the dog was just standing in the middle of the road not moving or something. It is amazing how hard it can be to see or react to an animal before it is right in front of your car.

    Quote Originally Posted by juliemule View Post
    So, if someones dogwas hit.and killed, would you.consider them.an irresponsible owner?

    Like if the dog was on a long lead, but darted in front of a vehicle?
    It takes more of a pattern of behavior for me to consider an owner irresponsible. Accidents - not just car accidents, but a dog slipping out the front door, a leash breaking or getting pulled out of your hand, etc. - happen. I wouldn't necessarily consider something like that irresponsible. But if someone had a habit of letting their dog run loose, or knew their dog could get over the fence and didn't replace it, something like that I would be more inclined to feel was irresponsible behavior.

    As for the long leash - I once saw a dog that was hit and killed by a car on what I believe (although the details are a bit foggy) was a regular 6' leash. It was a complete freak accident, the dog was pottying on the boulevard and darted off the curb in front of a car parked at the curb just as someone was pulling in to park in front of the car and the dog actually ran into the wheel on the passenger side, so the driver never even saw the dog. Don't know what to think about "fault" there. It was pretty freakish.

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    Senior Member Bones's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    Owners fault 100% and I disagree with cars hitting people normally being the drivers fault. It really depends on the situation- however in most municipalities it is illegal to let a dog run loose so if it gets hit by a car it's owners fault. Also, even if the driver intentionally runs over the dog- 100% owners fault. If you care for your pets keep them up. Leash law or not. At least you control where you're pets are- and if they are with you and not running loose the likelihood that they get hit by or car or killed by a freak is greatly diminished. I find it disgusting that people always try to place blame on others. YOU as the OWNER and MASTER of your dog are responsible for your dog's safety. No one else is.

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    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: Hit by car, who is at fault

    Quote Originally Posted by juliemule View Post
    So, if someones dogwas hit.and killed, would you.consider them.an irresponsible owner?

    Like if the dog was on a long lead, but darted in front of a vehicle?
    Accidents happen even to the most responsible people. Equipment failures, unexpected acts of others, honest mistakes in judgement.... Even a responsible owner has to accept responsibility.

    Even in your example, where the dog's on a 100 foot lead, 50 feet from the street, could be an irresponsible owner. Or, it could be the owner is responsible yet stupid, or responsible yet distracted or fatigued, or misinformed about the length of the lead, or a poor estimater of distances.

    Even if your dog has "perfect recall," when you unhook the leash you are accepting the risk that one day he'll face a temptation he can't resist.

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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