When you lose a pet through another person's negligence, you are entitled to compensation just as you would be for losing any other property. Here are some of the factors that determine how much compensation you deserve:
Market Value of the Animal
The market value of your pet is the amount it would cost to buy a similar pet. This will take into account all the factors usually considered when selling pets, which means the age, health, sex, and other factors that will come into consideration. In most cases, an independent valuation will be needed to arrive at a fair value of the animal.
The Value of the Animal to You
Apart from the market value of the pet, its intrinsic value to you as a valuable member of your family should also be considered. Here, the court will consider several factors, including how long you have had the animal and how close you are to it. For example, if you carry your pet with you everywhere you go, it may be considered more valuable to you than another person who rarely sees their pet.
If the animal didn't die instantly, then you should also be reimbursed for the costs you incurred in trying to save it. Take an example where a biker knocks down your pet, you take the animal to a vet, and it dies after a couple of days or so. In that case, you should be reimbursed for the cost of transporting the animal to the vet and the vet fees (including lodging, professional charges, and drugs).
Your Emotional Distress
The court should also consider the emotional distress pet owners feel when they lose their animal friends. Watching your beloved pet die is definitely traumatizing. Unfortunately, this part of the claim is difficult to quantify or prove, so don't be surprised if you face considerable opposition from the defendant or lack of assistance from the court. However, a skilled personal injury attorney will try their best to see to it that you get the emotional distress damages you deserve.
The Conduct of the Defendant
The conduct of the defendant may also affect your damages. For example, you may be entitled to punitive damages if the defendant's actions weren't merely negligent, but were malicious or intentional. For example, if a motorist runs over your pet in a case of road rage, then the court may force them to pay punitive damages.
Don't forget that, just like with any other injury claim, you need to document your damages and provide proof for them. For example, if you are claiming to have lived with a cat for five years, you must offer proof of the claim.
For more information and help with your case, contact a lawyer in your area.