Personal Injury Claims over Pet Injuries While Traveling
If you have a pet that travels with you, you’re not alone. More than 67 percent of U.S. households own a pet, and 53 percent of pet owners travel with their pets. Dogs and cats are among the most frequent travel companions, as they are more than just pets; for many, they are family. Traveling with your pet isn’t always easy, and depending upon your encounter with other pets, your trip may, unfortunately, result in the need for a personal injury lawyer.
Pets and Your Mental Health
Research shows that pets can greatly improve their owners’ mental health. Among the many benefits of pet ownership are that pets can help:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Ease loneliness
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce depression by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine
One of the most attractive features of owning a pet is the companionship that they provide. For many pet owners, traveling without their pets is not an option—either due to a lack of boarding options or a fear of separation anxiety.
The increase of pet-friendly travel options makes traveling with your pet easier than ever before. Such travel is not without dangers, however. Protecting your pet and your safety from negligent pet owners and travel services is essential for a successful trip.
If you or your pet experienced serious injuries due to a negligent travel service or property or due to a careless pet owner, consider legal action. Discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer is the best option for deciding if your case qualifies for a personal injury lawsuit.
Challenges of Pet Travel
Traveling with a pet isn’t easy. You prepare by taking important safety measures in advance of your trip. These include making sure your pet is easily identifiable via microchipping and taking your pet to the vet. Ensuring that your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations can protect you and your pets from accusations should one of your pets harm someone or another pet.
Unfortunately, not all pet owners are as responsible when it comes to preparing their pets for travel. A serious dog bite and no proof that the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations can ruin your trip and greatly affect your health.
Facing medical bills and missed time from work due to someone else’s negligent actions isn’t fair. No one should pay out-of-pocket for expenses that occur due to a lack of care by another person. A personal injury lawyer can review your case for free. If your trip turned tragic due to a dangerous pet, you should discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
When Other Pet Owners Are Negligent
Research shows that approximately 63 percent of pets are dogs, and 42 percent are cats. Pets like birds, fish, and reptiles round out the pet category; however, dogs and cats are the pets that you’re most likely to encounter when traveling.
Choosing to travel with your pets means you should take precautions to protect them, you, and others around you. No matter how cautious you are, other pet owners may not use the same care when controlling their pets. Here are several places you may encounter a dangerous pet during your travels:
Airlines – More than 1 million pets fly with their owners throughout the United States every year. An 84 percent rise in incidents involving bad pet behavior prompted many airlines to develop stricter rules regarding pet travel. The majority of pets that fly are dogs and cats, with only certain sizes and breeds allowed in the cabin.
Hotels – Finding the right pet-friendly hotel for you and your pet is important for a good night’s rest. Most pet-friendly hotel chains have strict requirements about the size, weight, and breed of the dog allowed onsite. Some hotels may charge extra fees and/or security deposits. Too often, negligent pet owners try to present larger, heavier dogs as service animals, when they are, in fact, a danger to others.
Car trips – Hitting the road with your pet means sharing the road with thousands of other drivers. No matter where your route takes you, the chance of encountering a dangerous driver is very real. Florida is home to more than 15 million licensed drivers and welcomes more than 1 million visitors every year. Walking your pet at a rest area is necessary yet risky due to the unpredictable behavior of other pets.
Additionally, when it comes to driving with your pet in the car, a survey by AAA and Kurgo, a manufacturer of pet accessories, revealed the following behaviors:
- 52 percent of pet owners admitted to petting their dog while driving.
- 23 percent of pet owners admitted to using their hands and arms to hold their dog in place while driving.
- 19 percent of pet owners admitted to using their hands and arms while driving to keep their dog from climbing into the front seat.
Restraining your pet for a car trip is a precaution that you may take, but others may not. If you experienced a serious car accident due to a driver distracted by his or her pet, a personal injury lawyer can help you. It is your right under the law to pursue a civil action against the liable parties. While each case is different, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Types of Serious Injuries From Dangerous Pets
A dog bite is perhaps one of the most serious types of injuries you can experience when traveling with your pet. The close proximity to other pets on hotel elevators or in airports places you at risk for the following injuries:
Bites – A deep dog bite can result in nerve and muscle damage. Dogs’ sharp teeth can splinter and fracture bones. The areas of the human body most commonly affected by dog bites are the hands, arms, legs, and feet.
Infections – If left untreated, a dog bite can quickly become infected. Common signs of a possible infection include redness at the bite site, the presence of pus or blood, and intense pain.
Rabies – According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), vaccinating pets is the best way to prevent rabies. If a dog—or any other type of animal—bites you, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, rabies will affect the central nervous system in humans, can cause disease in the brain, and may ultimately result in death.
These are just a few examples of how a dog bite can impact your health. The impact of a dog bite will depend upon the specific circumstances of the incident. The American Veteran Medical Association (AVMA) cites the following as common reasons why dogs bite:
- Something or someone startles or frightens a dog.
- A dog is sick or unwell.
- A dog is defending its territory or owner.
- A different environment may cause a dog to feel stress, resulting in its biting behavior.
Dogs are not the only animals that travel or that bite. Cats can also attack by biting or scratching. While these are the two most common types of animals that travel with their owners, you may also encounter a snake, a pig, or some other type of animal that can harm you.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) governs what classifies as a support animal. The recent increase in emotional support animal claims has the travel industry rethinking its pet policies. Reviewing industry guidelines and properly preparing your pet for travel are your best options for a safe trip.
If you do suffer a serious injury by an animal that its owner claims is an emotional support animal, contact an attorney to discuss your case. Chances are that the animal does not qualify, especially if it is unusual or exotic.
Never take an animal bite lightly; always seek immediate medical attention. By doing so, you just might prevent a seemingly minor dog bite from escalating into a life-threatening situation.
When You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is not uncommon to hear from an insurance company after your animal injury or car accident. Whether you are traveling with your pet in a car, plane, or hotel, you deserve to enjoy your trip free from harm.
Insurance companies like to settle cases quickly. While these companies may present you with an attractive offer to settle your claim, chances are this offer isn’t enough to cover your future medical needs. Do not try to negotiate for a better offer on your own, as it will likely only leave you feeling disappointed and without the compensation you need.
If your trip turned tragic due to a negligent pet owner who failed to take the same precautions that you took, take action. By holding the responsible party accountable for not maintaining control of his or her pet, you might just prevent the same thing from happening to someone else in the future.
Personal injury lawyers understand the law and how civil action works when it comes to cases involving dangerous animals. Many personal injury lawyers are also pet owners themselves, and these lawyers can identify details in your case that may qualify for possible compensation.
The right personal injury lawyer aggressively takes on insurance companies that try to deny, delay, or underpay victims with serious injuries. The lawyer you choose won’t stop until he or she secures fair compensation. If your lawyer is unable to settle your case out-of-court, he or she should be ready and willing to go trial.
If your injuries are no fault of your own, then a personal injury lawyer can help you. Knowing that a personal injury lawyer is hard-at-work on your behalf, protecting your best interests, will allow you to concentrate on your recovery. A serious animal bite is a traumatic event, especially for children. These injuries often occur in the face or neck region and may leave emotional scars, as well.
Consider Dolman Law Group for Your Personal Injury Case Representation
Traveling with your pets is a fun way to include them as part of the family vacation or any other type of travel. Not all pet owners will take the precautions that you take to ensure your pet is healthy, properly secured, and well-managed during your trip. When a pet owner fails to protect others from his or her pet’s aggressive or dangerous behavior, these negligent actions can change policies for everyone.
A pet owner may take his or her hands off the wheel long enough to cause a fatal accident. If you lost a loved one due to a serious car accident involving an unrestrained pet, you may be entitled to a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death cases are quite complex and depend upon a variety of factors, including your relationship to the decedent.
The statute of limitations limits the amount of time that you have to file a civil action. Once you miss the deadline, you have generally lost your chance to pursue civil action forever.
Traveling with your pet is your right. The travel industry recognizes the value of offering pet-friendly accommodations and services for pet owners. Taking advantage of these opportunities without fear of harm from other animals is your right. Don’t let negligent pet owners ruin pet travel for everyone. If you experienced a serious bite, infection, disease, or other types of complications from a dangerous animal while traveling, a lawyer can help you.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765