Visitor Question

Car damaged from hitting a dog…

Submitted By: Brittany (Clinton, TN)

My boyfriend and I were driving down the highway when two dogs ran in the road. We tried to stop so we wouldn’t hit them, but we couldn’t get over and so we hit one of the dogs. We pulled over and the dog was not dead, it then ran off.

There was a lot of damage to our car. We don’t have auto insurance but the owner of the dog has homeowners insurance. Will his homeowners insurance pay for our car’s damage? How do we go about getting his insurance to pay for our car damage? We live in Anderson County in Tennessee. Any information you can give would be much appreciated.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Brittany,

Because you don’t have access to the type of coverage the dog owner may have in his homeowners insurance policy, you must consider two options:

First: Contact the dog owner and civilly discuss the matter with him. Simply explain what happened and ask him to give you the contact information for his homeowners insurance company. You’ll need the homeowner’s full name, his homeowners insurance policy number, and the telephone number for the insurance company.

Second: If he refuses to cooperate, you can file a small claims lawsuit against him in small claims court. The State of Tennessee has one of the highest small claims jurisdictional amounts in the country. In Tennessee small claims court a person can sue for up to $25,000.00 dollars.

If you are forced to file suit against the dog owner, that may convince him to turn the matter over to his homeowners insurance company. If his policy doesn’t cover the damage, you will still be able to pursue your lawsuit against him personally.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 4, 2014

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