Having a pet injured (or even killed) by an airline’s negligence is traumatic and stressful to the owner. Some studies show that an injury or loss of a pet can cause just as powerful an emotional response to the owner as the loss of any other family member. How do the California courts evaluate the matter and how can a personal injury law firm help?
If it’s just a small accident and all that is involved are minor veterinarian bills, then the matter is usually easily handled. If your pet was killed or badly injured or even suffered, the matter is more complex and likely needs to be addressed with representation. The laws regarding this matter have changed over the last few decades, but the courts still consider your pet personal property.
The laws vary state-to-state, but overall, they limit the compensation to the owner’s economic losses. There are economic considerations if the injury or death were due to malicious intent, deliberate intent, or negligence. In cases such as these, the court could award additional compensation for the owner’s pain and suffering.
There have been owners who have spent thousands of dollars to have their dog cared for after an injury. This would demonstrate to the court just how dear the pet was to them, and the full amount of the bill could be paid. Some of these amounts far exceed your pet’s “fair market value.”
How is the Value of My Pet’s Injury or Loss Calculated?
Most pets hold a significant position as a genuine part of your family. They provide joy, reduce stress, and generally improve and enrich your life. So over the years, courts have begun to realize that a pet is far more than a possession. Your pet is considered more like a person in your family. Still, the courts have several ways to calculate your pet’s value to you and your family.
Some of them are:
– Traditional calculation – fair market value: This is considered the replacement value of your pet and even includes service dogs. Is your pet a certain pedigree, do they have special training, have they won prizes or awards or was your pet pregnant with a litter you would have profited from?
– Application of market value to pets: This calculation of market value for companion animals is based on commercial precedent.
– The Intrinsic value of your pet: More recently, a category of damages has been suggested as an alternative to market value – a pet’s intrinsic value. The term intrinsic focuses on the animal as an individual as well as the relation to the human owners. This way of valuation is considered in some cases under the term “loss of companionship.”
– Punitive damages: Punitive damages are not meant to compensate an owner for injury to his property but to punish the person causing the injury for his unacceptable conduct. Negligence alone will not support a claim for punitive damages. The individual’s actions must show a malicious, willful, or reckless disregard for the rights of the animal and its owner. This shows domestic pets are considered much more than “property.”
– Mental anguish or suffering of the owner: When dealing with pets, emotional ties may have developed between the owner and the animal of a nature not unlike the tie between a parent and a child. The beloved animal becomes important in an individual’s daily life. The injury or death of the animal represents an increasingly significant threat to the owner’s mental well-being.
The loss of your pet can cause intense emotional distress and have lasting effects. Therefore, many owners have retained personal injury attorneys to thoroughly investigate the case and get some adequate compensation and justice for the pain.
A personal injury attorney in California helping victims recover maximum compensation for their injuries will help you immensely. Your pet was injured or killed, but you suffered also.
Do the Airlines Have Guidelines for the Handling and Care of Pets?
With the increasing number of owners traveling with their pets, the airlines have initiated minimum guidelines that must be met. The baggage handlers and other personnel are trained to follow these guidelines so that your pet makes the trip with as high a degree of safety as you do.
Some of these guidelines are:
– Rules on the feeding of your pet (and providing water) are in place.
– Pets must be treated with care, and their kennels must be treated with care before, during, and after the flight.
– The pet must be observed as regularly as possible during the trip. Also, they must not be removed from their kennels unless it’s an emergency.
– Animal Act standards must be observed at all times.
– Pets should not interact with other animals on board.
– If a pet is sick or injured, it cannot be transported except to receive veterinary care.
If your pet has been injured during airplane travel, there should be a conscientious follow-up with the airline. To you, your pet is certainly not property and likely means a great deal more to you than an automobile or other piece of “property.” You would seek help from a airplane accident attorney if you, or a family member, were injured by an airline.
Your pet is a part of your family, and although the courts in California consider them differently from humans, they deserve loving consideration. Accident lawyers that are ready and willing to fight for you (and your pet) should be enlisted to help you.