Woman injured in crash avoiding pet raises liability questions

Date: Sep 06, 2018

A woman suffered several injuries after she swerved to avoid a dog on the road and rolled her car near Dapto, NSW. While the injuries weren’t severe, the impact badly damaged the woman’s car.

What exactly does this mean for individuals in their claims for public liability compensation if they or their loved ones are injured while swerving to avoid colliding with a pet loose on a public road?

The incident

The woman was driving along a road near Princes Highway, South NSW, when a dog appeared ahead of her. Instinctively swerving to avoid the animal, she rolled her vehicle. It sun several times before eventually coming to a halt on its roof.

Emergency services arrived to aid the woman, who had managed to free herself from the car, and treated her for minor cuts to her hands and chest pain from the seat belt. The dog was reportedly unscathed from the crash. The authorities are yet to identify the owners of the pet.

What public liability laws are in play here?

The Companion Animals Act 1998 determines that pet owners must take all reasonable precautions to prevent their cat or dog from escaping their property or other area in which the animal is secured. Under the legislation, the definition of owner includes any person who is in charge of looking after the pet when any incident takes place.

The NSW Office of Local Government corroborates this, claiming all pets, unless exempt, must be under the effective control of a competent person at all times when out in public. Therefore, the actions of the dog that caused the NSW woman to swerve and crash fall under the responsibility of the pet’s owners.

Therefore, the woman is likely eligible for public liability compensation from the owners of the animal.

What do you do if injured in a car crash caused by a pet?

If you have sustained any injuries from a car crash caused by a pet, it’s most important to seek medical treatment immediately. Then, you must provide proof that the animal in question is in fact a pet owned by a resident of NSW. You should also make every effort to find and warn the owners that their pet is loose.

Once you’ve established these facts, you’ll be able to make a case for securing public liability compensation. To get the ball rolling, you will need help from expert solicitors. The team of experienced lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers are happy to guide you through the claim process – so reach out to us today.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.