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Car hits dog: isn't driver partly liable?

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mikimber

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Oregon

My 9-month old, 100lb Great Dane/Lab mix got out of my family's back yard through a gate left open by servicemen while I was away. He was hit by a Ford Ranger being driven by a county tax worker who was looking for house addresses instead of at the road (posted mph 25). Repair of injury to dog's leg has so far totalled over $2000 (emergency care at local vet with referral to and surgery by nearest vet hospital). This does not include the gas & time it took to get him to nearest capable facility (3.5 hr drive each way, 2 trips total), nor any follow-up care necessary (4-6 weeks in cast w/weekly visits to local vet @ min. $25ea; suture removal at $?? recasting at $50-$90, more xrays @ 6 wks at min. $50 and post cast physical therapy --performed by me)

Driver refuses to accept any financial liability at all, saying dog should not have been out of yard. Doesn't comparative negligence exist in Oregon? This happened right in front of the house - dog was not out of yard for more than the time it took to leave through gate in back yard and B-line towards kids on other side of neighborhood street - just minutes. All I'm asking for is at least half the costs, as I was in dire straights when this happened and have literally been bled dry by this event. I don't even have enough to take care of all of the post-surgery care described above. I just moved here, having been run through an emotional and financial ringer, and hadn't even had a chance to look for work yet! I need to know what my rights are and what the proper procedure would be to exercise them.

Like I mentioned above, although he wasn't driving what was marked as a county vehicle, I do know he was within the course and scope of his work for the local county. I have two witnesses who saw the accident and say the driver didn't even brake, his attention turned the other direction, until he completely ran over the dog's leg. The seriousness of the injury, when you consider the height of the dog to the height of the vehicle, suggests this as well. A random attorney suggested contacting the county commissioners and then small claims court.

Thank you very much for whatever help you can offer!What is the name of your state?
 


Just Blue

Senior Member
The dog was in the street...The driver is not at fault....You should go after the "serviceman" that left the gate open...

Also you should have the dog on a run in the yard...that way he can't get out even if someone were to open the gate...

Good luck and hopt poochie feels better!!

Bay
 

mikimber

Junior Member
No offense, Massachusettes, but I'd like to ask for local consensus before accepting that answer. I can't imagine that'd be the case! If you are quoting an Oregon statute or particular case law, might I trouble you to cite it? The guy wasn't watching where he was going and the length of his inattention seems excessive. He says he was only going 10mph. The dog is flippin' huge - his chin could easily rest on the window sill of that truck without a paw leaving the ground. Taking into consideration that speed, the width of the street, the size of the dog and the size of the vehicle, his eyes were away from front for much too long. The dog doesn't dart. He lopes. This guy didn't even brake. Had he, I might be more inclined to agree more with you.

What if it'd been one of the many small children who play in that very same area?

Thanks for dog run suggestion. It worked very nice at the home I was recently forced from. . . parent's home is not so accomodating and is temporary anyway. As for poochy, Ricco is irrepressible and is fast working on giving his mom a coronary trying to run in his cast. . . !!

Anyway, do not mean to sound unappreciative in questioning your opinion. Please take no offense! If you or anyone out there can contribute to this discussion citing or suggesting local authority, I'd greatly appreciate it. In the meantime, I'll poke around ORS; try to track down some case law. Thanks again. Great site!
 

enjay

Member
mikimber, the dog was in the middle of the street. The driver is not at fault.

If it had been a child running in to the street, the driver wouldn't have been at fault either. Had the driver driven through your yard and hit the dog (or child), then there would be an issue.
 
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shell007

Guest
Here another scenario:

Since you say....
The dog is flippin' huge - his chin could easily rest on the window sill of that truck without a paw leaving the ground.
AND.....
100lb Great Dane/Lab
I would think that IF there was any damage to the driver's vehicle, YOU would be responsible to pay for damages since YOUR DOG WAS OUT OF YOUR YARD, which caused those damages.
 
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shell007

Guest
OP: Google is a great tool IF/WHEN you use it. So here...I did a little research for you.

OREGON:

My dog was recently hit by a car and requires expensive veterinarian care…doesn’t the driver of the car have to pay the vet bills?

A: NO! Not only is the driver of the vehicle not responsible for your pet’s vet bills, YOU may be held liable for any damages to the person’s vehicle or any other property damage caused by the driver’s attempt to avoid your dog. And if your dog causes an accident while running on the road YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE! Not all homeowner’s/renter’s insurance covers these kinds of claims against you, so it is wise to find out now.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
mikimber said:
No offense, Massachusettes, but I'd like to ask for local consensus before accepting that answer. I can't imagine that'd be the case! If you are quoting an Oregon statute or particular case law, might I trouble you to cite it? The guy wasn't watching where he was going and the length of his inattention seems excessive. He says he was only going 10mph. The dog is flippin' huge - his chin could easily rest on the window sill of that truck without a paw leaving the ground. Taking into consideration that speed, the width of the street, the size of the dog and the size of the vehicle, his eyes were away from front for much too long. The dog doesn't dart. He lopes. This guy didn't even brake. Had he, I might be more inclined to agree more with you.

What if it'd been one of the many small children who play in that very same area?

Thanks for dog run suggestion. It worked very nice at the home I was recently forced from. . . parent's home is not so accomodating and is temporary anyway. As for poochy, Ricco is irrepressible and is fast working on giving his mom a coronary trying to run in his cast. . . !!

Anyway, do not mean to sound unappreciative in questioning your opinion. Please take no offense! If you or anyone out there can contribute to this discussion citing or suggesting local authority, I'd greatly appreciate it. In the meantime, I'll poke around ORS; try to track down some case law. Thanks again. Great site!

Thank you for your nice reply...so many times on this site when a poster doesn't get the answer they want...well...they get very nasty! So I do thank you for your well mannered reply.
I am not an attorney...Just someone who has knowledge of some legal issues.
I know there is a leash law in your state...So if your dog was off the leash and was injured by a car...you don't have a case against the driver...AND you would be responsible for the damages to the drivers car...BUT!..You would be able to go after the person who let your dog out of the yard for all expenses, including any damages you may have to pay the driver for damages to his car.

Give your insurance agency a call and see what they say...I am sure they will tell you the same thing...

I am glad that your dog is doing fine...

Bay
 

rmet4nzkx

Senior Member
Maybe OP should wait for Miss Smith to reply, she is from Portland after all. Miss Smith is a cat lover, but she is mighty opinionated and swings a wild cane. ;)
Check with the county and which ever utility company accessed your yard and see what they will do.
 

fairisfair

Senior Member
Actually, I don't know if any of you found anything on Oregon State even having a leash law, what I found is that the state leaves it up to each county:

"if the governing body of the county by ordinance prohibits dogs from running at large, the county shall give notice, by publication in some newspaper having a general circulation in the county that dogs may not run at large. Every person keeping a dog shall then prevent the dog from running at large in any county, city or precinct where prohibited or face violation. " OR ST 609.060

So, there may not even be a leash law where OP resides. Still, I do agree with the other posters, if the vehicle that hit the dog was obeying the traffic laws, he would not be liable to the injury to your pet regardless of any leash laws.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
fairisfair said:
Actually, I don't know if any of you found anything on Oregon State even having a leash law, what I found is that the state leaves it up to each county:

"if the governing body of the county by ordinance prohibits dogs from running at large, the county shall give notice, by publication in some newspaper having a general circulation in the county that dogs may not run at large. Every person keeping a dog shall then prevent the dog from running at large in any county, city or precinct where prohibited or face violation. " OR ST 609.060

So, there may not even be a leash law where OP resides. Still, I do agree with the other posters, if the vehicle that hit the dog was obeying the traffic laws, he would not be liable to the injury to your pet regardless of any leash laws.

I don't know all the names of counties in OR. but was able to fine that Lane and Douglas Counties do have leash laws....
 

averad

Member
If its in Portland, Oregon dogs must be on a leash at ALL times or receive a fine of $100 dollars. Most other areas in Oregon are the same requiring dogs to be on leashes at all times.
 
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shell007

Guest
baystategirl said:
I don't know all the names of counties in OR. but was able to fine that Lane and Douglas Counties do have leash laws....
When I googled, I also found that every county I read about had a leash law. The only contradicting thing I found was that in certain counties, local parks have specific hours where your dog does not have to be on a leash, but seems like even that is tightly regulated.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
shellandty said:
When I googled, I also found that every county I read about had a leash law. The only contradicting thing I found was that in certain counties, local parks have specific hours where your dog does not have to be on a leash, but seems like even that is tightly regulated.

One would think that most counties in the US would have these laws...for the safty of the animals as well as the public!
On the news last night there was a story (local) of a dog that got out of the yard...for the upteenth time...went to a neighbors yard got into a fight with the neighbors dog, bit the owner of the property when he tried to seperate them...he ended up shooting the dog in the head...the owners of the offending dog are outraged that the guy killed their beloved pet. But I wonder why they didn't make it so the dog couldn't escape from the yard?? This has happened dozens of times...they KNEW the dog would get out and roam the neighborhood...yet they did nothing to cure the problem...poor dog...this wouldn't have happened if the owners had taken care of the dog!
 
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shell007

Guest
baystategirl said:
One would think that most counties in the US would have these laws...for the safty of the animals as well as the public!
On the news last night there was a story (local) of a dog that got out of the yard...for the upteenth time...went to a neighbors yard got into a fight with the neighbors dog, bit the owner of the property when he tried to seperate them...he ended up shooting the dog in the head...the owners of the offending dog are outraged that the guy killed their beloved pet. But I wonder why they didn't make it so the dog couldn't escape from the yard?? This has happened dozens of times...they KNEW the dog would get out and roam the neighborhood...yet they did nothing to cure the problem...poor dog...this wouldn't have happened if the owners had taken care of the dog!
LOL :D :D

Kind of same story that was on "Judge Judy" today!
 
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