What to Do If You Hit a Dog With Your Car

Car and Dog on Road
Dealing with Hitting a Dog with a Car. CSA Images/Printstock Collection / Getty Images

Hitting any animal with your car is upsetting to most people. Hitting a dog with your car is even worse. It is a horrible feeling to know someone's pet was injured or killed because of a car accident. Dealing with the aftermath can leave you with a lot of questions. What is the best way to care for the injured dog? Who pays for the dog's injuries? Will your car insurance pay for the repair of your vehicle?

What Is the Best Way to Care for the Injured Dog?

Dealing with an injured dog after it has been hit by a car is a tricky situation. Injured animals are unpredictable and can easily become aggressive. They are scared and under distress. Never try to move an unfamiliar injured dog without muzzling it in some way. Throwing a blanket or jacket over the injured dog can offer some protection for you to at least get the animal moved off the road.

  • Try to move the dog off the road but, first, restrain it in some way.
  • Try to contact the owner. Get the dog owner's contact information.
  • If the dog is aggressive, contact animal protective services. 911 can transfer your call to animal protective services if you do not have the number.
  • Contact the nearest animal clinic to let them know about the dog's injuries and that he is being brought in.

Who Pays for the Dog's Veterinary Care?

Veterinary bills can easily pile up after a dog is hit by a car.

The dog's owner is normally the one responsible for deciding on treatment and covering all the expenses. If the owner cannot be located, the expense can fall on the person who brought the dog into the vet. If you do take an injured dog to the vet and are unsure of the dog's owner, speak with the vet on the what to expect.

Find out what the standard procedure is in this type of accident.

What About Repairs to Your Vehicle?

Physical damage repairs after hitting an animal are covered under car insurance by comprehensive coverage. If the animal is a dog, the claim could be handled a little differently. In most states, if a comprehensive claim is filed due to hitting a dog, the insurance company will subrogate the claim by going after the dog's owner. If you cannot locate the owner, you must have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle for your car insurance to cover the damage.

The dog's owner is said to be at-fault or responsible because the dog should not be in the road for starters. The dog owner's homeowners insurance policy would actually pick up such a claim under its liability coverage. Typically liability claims do not have a deductible, however, a claim filed against a homeowners policy is sure to be surcharged at renewal. If you do not have comprehensive coverage, you can go directly to the dog owner's home insurance carrier to file a claim for repairs to your vehicle. The owner will have to admit responsibility if a police report was never filed.

What If You Hit Your Own Dog?

Hitting your own dog could result in an at-fault accident which would result in a collision claim.

It is going to be up to your insurance carrier on how the claim is filed. Remember, you should always have your dog out of harm's way.

Do Not Leave an Injured Dog!

The panic and or stress of the situation can make leaving the scene of hitting a pet seem like the easy thing to do, but it is definitely not the right thing to do. Get caught and you could be cited with animal cruelty. Do the right thing and make sure the animal is not going to sustain further injury. Certainly, nobody wants to deal with the aftermath of a dog car accident, but it is your responsibility to take care of the situation to the best of your ability.