Pets are just as vulnerable to the effects of a serious accident as humans, and their injuries can run up large vet bills with a long recuperation. Whether your pet is covered by the ICBC depends on who is responsible for the accident that caused injury to you and/or your pet. In the case of a car accident, for example, if the crash was your fault, you cannot pursue a claim for vet bills from the ICBC. If the other driver is at-fault, you might receive compensation.
Pets are property
Even if you consider pets as family, under the law, they are also property. If a car crash resulted in the loss of your vehicle, you should receive its value from the ICBC. That is also the case for other property damaged in the accident, such as a laptop. The same holds true for your pet’s veterinary expenses after the collision.
While property damage applies to pets, the first line of protection is your personal pet insurance policy. If you have such a policy, it should pay for your animal’s veterinary costs after an accident. However, while virtually every driver in Canada has car insurance, only a small percentage of pet owners take out veterinary insurance policies for their pets. When an animal is badly injured in a car accident, some owners may have to euthanize the pet even if surgery could save it, because they cannot afford the huge vet bills.
That is a terrible decision to have to make. If your pet was seriously injured and you do not have a personal pet insurance policy to cover their vet costs, you may still be eligible to pursue a claim through the ICBC to pay these bills. Keep in mind that such a claim does not include your pet’s pain and suffering – it is strictly for veterinary expenses related to the accident. An experienced ICBC lawyer can represent your claim and work to get you the money you deserve to cover all of your post-accident losses.
Pet Insurance Considerations
When purchasing pet insurance, as with any type of policy, make sure you know exactly what is and is not covered. Some policies may not cover your pet if you are at-fault for the accident. These are answers you must have before deciding on a policy.
Pet insurance policies cover far more than accidents and should pay a substantial part of the bill if your animal develops a serious or chronic illness.
If your pet dies from the accident and has a monetary rather than just emotional value, you might receive compensation. While your dog is priceless to you and irreplaceable, it is possible to establish the monetary value of some canines. For example, if your dog is a purebred and recently purchased, or a show dog, you might file a claim for the animal’s worth.
When a car is totalled, you can purchase a new vehicle that is much like your old one. A new dog cannot replace your late companion, but this form of recourse may be available since legally pets are considered property.
As any dog owner knows, canines can get loose in an instant. All it takes is an open gate, a hole in the fencing, or someone not shutting a door properly. Under these circumstances, if a dog runs into traffic and is killed or injured by a car, the motorist hitting the animal is generally not liable because the owner is considered negligent.
It is a different story if the dog is on a leash or otherwise contained when the animal is hit. When a vehicle strikes a dog out on a walk with its owner, it may hit both of them, resulting in death or serious injuries. While each situation is unique, this type of accident often means the motorist was reckless or negligent.
Contact an ICBC lawyer
If you or a loved one, including a pet, were seriously injured in an accident resulting from another party’s recklessness or negligence, you must go through the often complicated ICBC process to recover financial compensation. An ICBC lawyer at Preszler Injury Law can help you pursue a claim through the ICBC for compensation for your pet’s veterinary bills. Contact us online or call 24/7 to arrange a free consultation.