My Dog Was Hit by a Car – Who is Responsible?

Your four-legged friend is like family to you, so we understand how heartbreaking it can be when a dog is injured or killed in a car accident. If your dog has been hit by a car, you may wonder who is responsible for the accident and what your legal options are.

The answer may depend on the specific circumstances of the accident. The car’s driver that hit your dog could be liable for the accident. However, there are some exceptions, so speaking with an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer is important to discuss your case.


When is the Driver Responsible?

As in cases involving personal injuries of humans, you may be entitled to compensation for the injury or death of your dog. If your dog is hit by a car, the car’s driver may be liable for the accident for various reasons, including:


Negligence is a legal term meaning a failure to exercise reasonable care. In the context of dog accidents, negligence can be used to hold a driver liable for an accident.

To prove negligence, you must show that the driver owed a duty of care and that they breached that duty. You must also prove the breach of care resulted in your dog’s injuries and that you suffered actual damages as a result.

In the context of dog accidents involving a vehicle, the driver usually owes the duty of care to other people who may come into contact with their car. A breach of duty can be anything from driving too fast to driving while distracted.

Here are some examples of how a driver could show signs of negligence:

  • Driving too fast for the conditions
  • Driving while distracted (e.g., talking on the phone, texting, eating)
  • Not paying attention to the road
  • Not being aware of their surroundings
  • Failing to yield to pedestrians or other vehicles
  • Failing to brake in time to avoid an accident

Intentional actions

A driver may be liable for a car accident involving a dog if they intentionally harmed the dog. Intentional actions or “torts” are legal claims involving intentional acts that cause harm to another person or their property. If the car’s driver intentionally hit your dog, you may be able to make a claim for intentional tort.

Some examples of intentional torts that apply to car accidents involving dogs include:

  • Assault: The driver intentionally tried to harm the dog.
  • Battery: The driver intentionally touched the dog in a harmful or offensive way.
  • Malicious Mischief: The driver intentionally damaged your property.

Vicarious liability

Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that holds one person liable for the actions of another. In Nevada, employers are vicariously liable for the actions of their employees if they are acting within the scope of their employment.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when considering vicarious liability in an accident involving a dog, such as:

  1. The employee must be acting within the scope of their employment. This means an employee was doing something they are authorized to do during their employment when they injured the dog, such as driving a work vehicle.
  2. The employee must have acted negligently. This means that the employee must have failed to exercise reasonable care, which resulted in the dog’s injuries.
  3. In vicarious liability cases, the employer may be liable for the accident, even if the employee was not driving recklessly.

Am I Responsible?

Under county code 10.36.040 in Clark County and municipal code 7.36.030 in Las Vegas, all dogs must be on a leash when they are in public. If your dog is not under your control and gets hit by a car while off-leash, you may be held liable for the accident. This is because you are ultimately responsible for your dog’s actions.

However, even if you are not following this law, the driver of a vehicle that hits your dog may still be liable for the accident. Contacting a personal injury lawyer to examine your case and determine if you are entitled to compensation is best.

How Can My Dog Get Hurt in a Car Accident?

Dogs can be injured in car accidents in a number of ways. They can be hit by a car, they can be thrown from a car, or they can be injured by flying glass or debris. Injuries to dogs in car accidents can range from minor to severe. In some cases, dogs may even be killed in these accidents. Some common injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Head injuries
  • Internal injuries

What to Do if Your Dog Is Involved in a Car Accident

If your dog is injured in a car accident, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Even if your dog does not appear to be injured, it may have internal injuries that are not immediately apparent. The sooner your dog receives treatment, the better their chances of recovery.

In addition to veterinary care, you may also want to file a police report and a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If the car accident was the fault of another driver, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages for your dog’s injuries. In a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for your dog’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Cloward Trial Lawyers will help you understand your legal options and can help you file a personal injury lawsuit to receive the compensation you deserve.

Benjamin P. Cloward

In 2016, at the age of 37, Benjamin P. Cloward became the youngest lawyer in the history of the State of Nevada to be awarded the prestigious “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Nevada Justice Association. That same year, he became the youngest member of the Nevada, Las Vegas Chapter of ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocates), and at the time was also the youngest person in the State of Nevada to be Board Certified as a Personal Injury Specialist.

Practice areas: personal injury, car accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death, Greyhound bus accidents, and walk-in tub accidents.
Location: Las Vegas, NV

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9950 W Cheyenne Ave Las Vegas, NV 89129

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