| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accident

Pet owners worldwide treat the animals in their homes not as pets but as family. However, for pet owners with serious injuries or disabilities, their service dog can serve as a lifeline and a lifesaver.

These animals provide dedicated and loyal care to their owners while easing the difficulties, anxieties, and dangers of their everyday lives.

If you were involved in a car accident with your service dog, you may wonder whether you can seek damages from the liable party. Today, we’ll discuss getting compensation for injury to a service dog after an accident.  

Get in touch with us now at (770) 988-5252 to schedule your complimentary consultation. Discover how we can assist you today!

What Is a Service Animal?

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog individually trained to do or perform specific tasks for an individual with a disability. The tasks must be related to the person’s disability, and the trainer must be a licensed person or organization. Service dogs may be available to individuals for many reasons, including aiding mobility, reducing anxiety, getting help, assisting with balance, sensing seizures, and providing tactile stimulation.

Can I Get Compensation for My Service Dog’s Injuries? 

After a car accident, you may be curious about getting damages for injury to a service dog. Georgia views service dogs as pets and considers them personal property. Most of those who own pets may find this concept unappealing. Pet owners, including service animal owners, view these creatures as more than just property. However, the benefit of your service dog being viewed as property under the law is that you can recover compensation for service dog injuries. 

Georgia law permits you to receive the fair market value of your pet, including other expenses that result from your accident. Fair market value for your pet is the amount you could have sold the pet for at the time of the accident. But remember that your claim could also include the medical costs incurred in treating your dog’s injuries. 

Calculating the fair market value of your dog depends on a few factors, including the dog’s breed, training, age, and use. Unfortunately, the law does not allow you to factor in the value of your sentimental or emotional attachment to your pet. While the market value may not seem fair to you at all, it’s the only way to seek compensation from a person who harmed your service dog. 

What Happens If My Service Dog Was in a Car Accident with Me?

If you were in a car accident with your service dog, there are several steps to take to keep you and your dog safe. 

Keep Your Dog Safe 

If your dog escapes from your vehicle after a car accident, do not attempt to follow them into traffic. Following your dog into oncoming traffic can put you in significant danger. It’s better to stay where you are and attempt to get your dog back when it is safe. 

Move to Safety 

If possible, move your car, yourself, and your service dog out of the traffic flow. Many serious secondary accidents can occur immediately following a primary collision.

Check Injuries 

Check yourself and your service dog for injuries. It may not always be obvious when an animal is injured.

However, some signs may indicate that your service dog is hurt: 

  • They are unable to walk or refuse to move;
  • They may be whimpering, growling, or silent;
  • They are unresponsive; or
  • They may react to light touches in areas where they sustained an injury. 

Take your service dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out any internal injuries that may not be immediately apparent. 

File Police Report 

Georgia law requires a call to 9-1-1 after an accident if anyone sustained injuries, was killed, or if the damage to vehicles or other property exceeds $500. A service dog is likely to reach this threshold value, so it’s important to have law enforcement respond to the scene of your collision. They prepare accident reports which are useful when filing service animal injury claims. 

Contact Insurance 

Contact your insurance to determine whether your policy covers your dog’s injuries. Some policies cover a service dog within the property damage section of a collision claim, and this can alleviate some of your financial stresses. Quick attention to your dog’s injuries helps them get back to providing you with the support you need. 

Contact Us 

At MG Law, we know anyone injured in a serious accident has more to worry about than communicating with insurance companies or fighting with lawyers. Your first priority should always be resuming your normal life, but this may be difficult for you and your family. That’s why we are here to help. If you suffered injuries in an accident, the attorneys at MG Law are ready to help you get the compensation you need.

We work tirelessly to be leaders in the courtroom and provide each client with the best service and case outcome. Our legal team shares the common values of leadership, service, and problem-solving to give all our clients the benefit of our expert legal service and advocacy. Contact us today at (770) 988-5252 or email for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you! 

Author Photo

Michael Geoffroy’s law practice focuses on auto collisions, premises liability, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury. He stands up for the cause of justice throughout Georgia and on behalf of his clients every day. He is a leader in both the courtroom and the community, having been recognized numerous times for his involvement in each.