What To Do When Your Companion Animal Has Been Injured or Killed
It’s wrenching to contemplate, but important to know: You may be entitled to compensation if someone harms or kills your animal family members.
This page will present answers to some common questions about filing a lawsuit if your companion animal has been injured or killed. This is not a substitute for an attorney.
How long do I have to file a court action?
Time limits to file your action are called “statutes of limitation.” The length of time varies, and will depend on a number of factors. Additionally, statutes of limitations vary, state by state.
A lawyer will best be able to help you determine how long you have to file your lawsuit.
How do I start my lawsuit and what is involved with a lawsuit?
Lawsuits involving animals are complex legal procedures. It’s likely in your best interests to hire a lawyer to represent you. Please see our resource The Legal Process In the United States: A Civil Case for more.
How much will I receive if my companion animal is killed or injured?
The amount you can receive will vary depending on a number of factors. The particular facts and circumstances of your case are important. Additionally, the law regarding compensation for a companion animal’s death or injury also varies from state to state, and is in flux.
Here are some basics:
- By and large animals are considered “property” under the law. This means that in many cases, you are limited to compensation for your animal’s “market value,” along with associated “economic damages” like veterinary bills.
- In recognition of animals’ elevated places in our homes and lives, a growing number of states now also allow greater awards than economic damages. In these states — including Tennessee, Illinois and New York — you may also be able to receive non-economic and punitive damages in some cases, such as if the person who harmed your animal did so on purpose.
- Damages relating to emotional distress are sometimes available as well.
Your lawyer can best advise you as to the law in your state regarding compensation for an injured or killed companion animal.
On April 24, 2018, Governor Larry Hogan signed into law HB 1662, the “No More Puppy-Mill Pups Act of 2018,” making Maryland the second state to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats obtained from commercial breeding facilities.August 15, 2018 Animal Law Update
The Lewis & Clark Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter had a busy semester in spring 2018, holding three big events: its annual Animal Law Networking event, the Food Law Symposium, and its MeatOut BBQ.August 14, 2018 Student Chapter Spotlight
Reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsibleAugust 13, 2018 Press Release