Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

proof of value of cats

Due to the negligence of my neighbor putting out rat bait, my cats were exposed to poison, that had fallen into my yard from the roof of his building. How can I prove the intrinsic value of my cats (to justify the vet bill I am suing my neighbor to pay)? How can I claim damages and aggravation? Thanks

Asked on 4/22/99, 3:24 pm

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1 Answer from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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Re: proof of value of cats

I'm not aware that there is any reason to "justify" treating your pets based on their financial value. People -- including judges and juries -- are attached to their pets, and courts should understand this. Of course, if the cats happen to be particularly valuable, it won't hurt to offer registration papers or other documents attesting to their value.

Tort law recognizes that people will seek treatment for physical injuries and makes the tortfeasor responsible for the costs of such treatment, as well as the damages caused by negligent mistreatment. I'm not aware of any cases applying this principle to pets, but I think the same logic would apply.

(I haven't researched your question, though, and it may be that I am wrong.)

You can claim damages by suing for negligence and providing receipts and vet bills as evidence of the amount of your damages.

By "aggravation," I take it you mean emotional distress. I'm not sure if you can recover for such distress under these circumstances, but the claim may be worth pursuing. You will need to explain the nature of your distress and how it was caused by your neighbor's negligence.

Please feel free to call me if you want to discuss this further.

Edward Hoffman

Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

11620 Wilshire Boulevard, #340


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Answered on 4/22/99, 7:18 pm

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