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Semirog Law Firm, pllc is a personal injury and auto accidents law firm located in Charlotte and Matthews, North Carolina.   We are committed to providing quality legal services in a dedicated and cost-effective manner to all members of our community, regardless of race, gender, or national origin.

We have handled complicated litigation in the areas of personal injury, car wrecks, truck accidents, family and business law.  In addition, we have experience in real estate law and short-sale negotiations.

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When Cars Chase Back

Serge Semirog

Every now and then, a squirrel may run in front of a driver and have the unfortunate response of standing deathly afraid in the middle of the road.  While most people don't have an attachment to this particular furry creature, what if we replace it with a dog or a cat?  

Between 2008 and 2010, more than 1,200 collisions with animals caused nearly $3.5 million in damages just in Mecklenburg County.  Some of these unfortunate accidents involved beloved pets.

Lets set the scene and analyze each parties options.  John Smith is driving down his neighborhood street at approximately 25 mph when, unbeknownst to him, Little Sally's dog runs out into the street.  Unable to stop or swerve safely, he fatally wounds the dog and makes little Sally very sad.

Driver's View

While Mr. Smith may be very apologetic to Little Sally, his brand new car was physically damaged in the collision and repairs will be necessary.  Who can he go to for recovery?  Let's imagine that he doesn't want to burden little Sally's family any more so he decides to go through his own insurance.  He will likely call his insurance company and see if his collision insurance will cover the damages.  

Unfortunately for Mr. Smith and for many drivers in North Carolina, collision insurance only covers damages incurred as a result of a collision between two vehicles or a vehicle and a non-living object.  Instead, drivers need to have Comprehensive Coverage in order to have the insurance companies pay for the damages.

Not having the proper coverage, Mr. Smith resigns to the fact that he must go through Sally's insurance company.  But which policy covers pets?  Quite often, especially in the case for dog-bites, the owner's homeowner's insurance will cover the incident if the owner does not have Pet Insurance specifically.  Mr. Smith just needs to call and file a claim in order to be paid for the repairs.

Owner's View

Little Sally and her family are distraught over the loss of Fido, their cherished puppy.  What options do they have to recover the loss of a loved one (albeit canine)?  If the owner happens to  have pet insurance, the company will assuredly help pay the veterinarian's bill or for the loss of a pet.  But unfortunately for Sally's family, they do not have pet insurance and thus they must file a claim with Mr. Smith's insurance. 

Insurance companies tend to be a little iffy because each situation is unique.  It depends on the cost of the pet (especially for pure-bred or show animals) and where the animal was.  If the animal is in the middle of the road, the owner was in violation of NC Leash Laws and thus the driver cannot be held liable.  If the animal was on the sidewalk and on a leash, then the owner can file a claim against the driver's insurance.  Unfortunately for Little Sally, her puppy wasn't trained and it ran into the road by itself so there isn't much the family can do.  

Hopefully both parties act in a respectful manner and they are both able to fully recover physically and emotionally.  Be safe on the roads and watch out for all animals. 

By Serge SemirogGoogle +