Can I sue a pet sitter for injuries resulting from their negligence?

////Can I sue a pet sitter for injuries resulting from their negligence?


My dog had a regular dog sitter she saw weekly while I was at work. One evening, I got a text from the sitter saying she ran out of the house when someone opened the door to come inside. We found her the next day having been hit by a train. The most major injury was a fractured spine. The vets told us she could live a long, happy life and had no risk of death once stabilized. We went ahead with the expensive surgery and she survived just fine. The issue came a week later when she developed pneumonia in the hospital due to her not being able to move much in recovery (the injury paralyzed her). We unfortunately had to put her down due to her unlikelihood of surviving the pneumonia. We would like to know if we’d be entitled to vet bills as consequential damages for the sitter’s negligence. If not vet bills, what kind of relief are we entitled to? Thank you for your help!


I am so sorry to hear about your dog. People whose animals are injured or killed while in the care of a pet-sitter can sue the pet-sitter. Damages sought can include what is referred to as economic damages, such as veterinary bills incurred to treat the animal and the monetary value of the animal, such as what was paid for the animal and the cost to purchase a similar animal. When an animal has no monetary value, some courts have considered the value of the animal to the animal’s “parent,” such as when an animal was trained. If the animal was a service or emotional support animal, that should increase the monetary value. People can also seek non-economic damages, such as emotional distress and loss of companionship, although most courts do not award money for this (but some have). In 2021, a NJ Appellate Court, in reversing a lower court's decision, said that the plaintiff had a valid negligent infliction of emotional distress claim against a veterinary hospital that disposed of the head of the plaintiff’s deceased cat after the hospital was made aware that the cat’s “parent” intended to display the cat’s body for viewing prior to cremation.

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By |2024-03-26T09:37:03-04:00January 23rd, 2024|