Pets are more than just property… Not under Louisiana Law!

dog with head out of windowMany pet owners treat their furry companions as a treasured part of the family. As of 2022, seventy percent of U.S. households, or about 90.5 million families, own a pet. Whether you are taking a trip to the vet, the beach, or the dog park, pets are along for the ride nearly every day. They are often unrestrained. Unfortunately, the more time pets spend in the car with us, the greater the chances of them being injured in an automobile accident. So, what happens if your pet is injured in a car accident with you? Will the insurance company pay for its medical bills too?

The simple answer is yes! This is because your pet is considered your personal property.  While we think of our pets as much more than just a piece of property, this is how they are defined in insurance policies. As long as you are not at fault for the accident, the negligent driver’s insurance company is required to pay for your pet’s vet bills, so long as there is no exclusion written in the policy which would exclude your pet from being covered.

With that said, there are limitations to how much you may recover for your pet. Typically, insurance companies will only cover treatment they consider to be reasonable. A pet’s breed, age, general condition, and extent of injury are some factors that are considered.

In the worst-case scenario, what if your pet dies as a result of the accident? While it may feel like you just lost a close friend or family member, the pet is still considered personal property. The value of a pet may be measured by:

Fair market value. The value of your furry friend may be measured by what the pet would be worth if it were sold. This is where the pedigree, age, and health of the pet would become important.

Replacement/ special economic cost. If your pet was a service animal, kept for breeding or had special training, the insurance company may have to pay for the higher cost of replacing your pet. This would include any lost revenue, or the amount spent on training the animal.

While caring for an injured pet can bring about costly veterinarian bills, it can also cause emotional distress. Since pets are like adored family members, its injury or loss can be devastating. But receiving compensation for mental anguish or emotional distress can be much more difficult. Most courts limit the compensation to the owner’s economic losses only, but this is not to say that non-economic losses cannot be recovered under certain circumstances. Whether this type of claim is successful depends on the nature and maliciousness of the actions that led to the injury or death of your pet.

To successfully receive compensation for the injury of your beloved pet, it is crucial to maintain records of all veterinary bills and treatment records. It is not enough to just say your pet was injured without showing proof. As the owner, you must provide documentation to prove that the veterinary expenses would not have incurred if the pet was not injured by another individual out of negligence or malicious intent.

If you and a furry friend have been involved in an accident, and would like to discuss your case, call us today for a free consultation! PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), 1-888-892-2736 (toll free) or email us at

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