It’s no secret that people from Salt Lake City all the way to the City that Never Sleeps love their pets. However, we are faced with the reality that our animals may face a wrongful death. Animals can be run over by cars, beaten or treated poorly at the vet.
If you decide to sue for these actions, it is important that you and your attorney are on the same page.
What You Should Do After the Incident
If your animal is still alive, it is important to rush to the vet as soon as possible. If that is not the case, follow these actions as soon as possible. Start by taking pictures of the scene, without moving the animal. If there are any witnesses, collect their information to give to your attorney along with the pictures. If there is time, gather statements from the witnesses and, if possible, the individual who injured or killed the animal.
After the gathering of this information, take your animal to the vet. The vet should be able to perform a necropsy, which is a detailed examination. Keep in mind, the necropsy can be used as evidence if you decide to take this wrongful death to court. After the examination, ask the vet if they are willing to testify and provide their findings to a jury.
What You Can Sue For
If you do decide to take your case to court, it is important to know what legal theories you can apply to your case. Discuss with your attorney which theory is best for you.
Suing for negligence means you are suing an individual for being careless. There are four elements involved when suing for negligence. They include: the defendant having a legal duty to the plaintiff; if the defendant knew their actions would cause a sort of wrongful death; showing the defendant’s actions caused the injury; and the court being able to help the plaintiff with the damages that were caused.
You can sue an individual using the theory of intentional acts. This means the defendant was purposely committing the act of bringing harm to the animal. This includes mischief towards the animal, beating the animal or hurting the animal in any way.
If you decide to leave your animal with an individual and return to find that the animal is harmed in any way, you can sue under bailment. Examples of those who have bailment charges include groomers, doggy daycare facilities and vets.
When it comes to the wrongful death of your pet, it is important to listen to your attorney. They know what the next best steps are.