Motor Vehicle

Pet-tastrophy! – How to Handle a Car Accident Involving Your Pet

As Queenslanders, we love taking our pets with us when we travel. However, unfortunately approximately 5,000 dogs are injured every year in car accidents in Queensland because they are not properly restrained in vehicles.

The law surrounding animals in cars

Rules exist for animals in cars because animals often attract our attention and can therefore create lapses in a driver’s attention. These laws are passed by State Governments and are different from state to state.

In Queensland, it is an offence to drive with an animal in your lap or to drive when you don’t have proper control of your vehicle. Whilst Queensland law does not require motorists to restrain dogs or other animals, animals travelling inside your vehicle should be restrained to maximise the safety and welfare of yourself, the animal, and other road users.

If an animal is being carried outside of your car, in the tray of a ute or in a trailer, it is classed as a “load” and must be safetly restrained. Dogs tied in utes must be restrained on a short leash that does not allow them to go over the edge of the tray or trailer, however, it is important to ensure that they can sit, stand, turn around and lie down easily in a comfortable position.

How to safely restrain animals in cars

There are a large range of options available to owners that want to comfortably and safely restrain their animals to minimise their risk of harm in a car accident:

  • Animal car harnesses that act as seatbelts can be purchased at most pet stores in Australia.
  • Hammock seats or front seat barriers can restrict access to the front seats for pets, and can be used in conjunction with appropriately sized harnesses
  • Pet booster seats and pet baskets for smaller animals are very safe options to reduce harm during car accidents

Penalties for drivers whose animals are hurt in car accidents

The RSPCA can issue fines under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in relation to animals that are injured in car accidents in Queensland.

Personal Injury CTP Claims

Whilst you can’t make a claim in relation to injuries suffered by a pet in a car accident, if you, or someone you know suffers a psychiatric injury as a result of a pet being injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault you may be entitled to make a CTP claim for damages.

At Claimwise our mission is to help you save money on your legal fees. By starting your CTP claim with a traditional ‘No Win, No Fee’ law firm your total legal fees can end up being $10,000 or more higher than by using us.

If you or someone you know have been injured on the road in Queensland and want to keep your legal costs down, feel free to get in touch with us.

Be smart, claim wise.

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