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Ben Glass
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No Recovery When Dog Injured in Accident

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The Supreme Court of Virginia has again ruled that a car accident victim could not recover her her emotional distress arising out of injuries to her pet dog after both were injured in an car accident.

The case is Vladimir Kondaurov v. Eve Kerdasha.

Kerdasha contended that she could recover damages for all the “injurious consequences” she suffered which naturally resulted from the accident. Her evidence at trial indicated that she had a very close relationship which her dog, “Sushi.” After she was hit from a bus that failed to slow down in heavy traffic, her car had rolled onto its side, ejecting “Sushi.” The dog suffered a cut tail, which later had to be amputated, and according to the trial testimony, itself suffered emotional injury. The Arlington County jury had returned a verdict in the amount of $300,000, even though Kerdasha’s injures were, according to the opinion, no more than bruises and contusions. She also claimed a worsening of her multiple sclerosis, brought on by the emotional impact of the accident.

This decision is consistent with longstanding Virginia law which views animals as “property.” Generally there is no recovery for the emotional anguish associated with the loss of property. As far as the law is concerned this is no different from the person who has their favorite sports car totaled. You just cannot recover emotional distress damages for that.