How to behave in the event of an accident with a stray dog? Is it possible to obtain compensation for the damage suffered? And who pays? The answer to all questions
This is a more common occurrence than you might think given the high number of stray animals plaguing Italian roads. In case of accident with a stray dog which has caused damage to people and/or things, you can obtain any type of compensation? And who pays for it? Good questions, among others back in the news after a recent judgment of the Court of Cassation which fixed certain issues in claiming compensation make life much more difficult for motorists.
Update May 19, 2023 with various clarifications on the assumption of compensation in the event of an accident with a stray dog.
ACCIDENT WITH STRAY DOG AND INSURANCE
Of insurance point of view there is little chance of having one compensation for an accident caused by a stray dog. The reason is obvious: a collision with a stray dog is too unpredictable; moreover, the spread of the stray dog phenomenon does not encourage the creation of ad hoc policies, which would be inconvenient for insurance companies. Existing hedges are also ineffective. The all-risk guarantee protects against collisions with moving and fixed obstacles (and until proven otherwise, a dog is a moving obstacle), but generally impacts with animals are excluded. Then, some companies offer an ancillary guarantee that protects in the event of collision with wild animals (sometimes it’s just an extension of the natural hazards policy), but usually the definition of “wild animals” does not include stray dogs.
ACCIDENT WITH STRAY DOG: RESPONSIBILITY OF ASL AND MUNICIPALITIES
So there is no chance of having one. compensation for an accident with a stray dog? Things are not quite like that. Framework law no. 281/1991 indeed fully clarifies this point by providing that “responsibility for damage caused by stray dogs rests exclusively with theorganization which is charged by the various regional regulations to prevent the dangers linked to stray dogsand therefore the task of catching and keeping stray or stray dogs”. The framework law therefore does not directly indicate the organization responsible for stray dogs. But in all regions it is common to rely on local health authorities, who are therefore responsible for taking responsibility for the capture and custody of stray dogs. Depending on the regulations of each region, however, liability may extend jointly even to individual municipalities. Which, let us remember, hold the power of control and surveillance over the territory and also have the obligation to equip themselves with kennels and renovate existing ones.
STRAY DOG ACCIDENT: WHAT TO DO TO OBTAIN COMPENSATION
Once the responsible organization has been identified, which, as we have seen, can be the ASL, the Commune where the accident occurred or both (depending on regional legislation), the owner of the car who hit the stray dog to obtain compensation, he must present the request relating to the body or bodies proposed enclosing all the necessary documentation. Which must include:
- reporting the incident to the police with the exact description of the incident;
- photos of the damaged car and, if possible, of the animal involved;
- possible medical certificates if there has been physical damage to the driver and/or passengers;
- contact details of witnesses (if any);
- invoices for expenses incurred for car repairs and medical care;
- amount of compensation claimed.
Until recently, the entity in question could invoke a few excuses not to pay. Try to prove for example theabsolute randomness of the event, not attributable to the responsibility of anyone but due to totally unforeseeable circumstances. But, as we had anticipated at the start, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court has partially changed the cards on the table.
ACCIDENT WITH A STRAY ANIMAL: FOR COMPENSATION, YOU MUST DEMONSTRATE YOUR DRIVING
By order 11591 of 2018, the Supreme Court indeed specified that in order to be compensated for damages suffered as a result of a accident with a stray dog, it is no longer enough to identify the organism responsible for stray dogs. But a specific fault or omission must be demonstrated. The liability of the entity must therefore depend on its culpable behavior and not on strict liability. Of course, to complicate matters further, it is the injured motorist to have to certify the faulty behavior of the ASL or the Municipality, or both. Prove, for example, that there had been specific reports of the habitual presence of one or more stray dogs at the location where the collision then occurred, and that despite this none of the bodies in charge had taken the appropriate measures to resolve the situation.
Source : Sicur Auto