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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long story short – neighbor’s cat ran into my car and was injured. I can’t see (details below) how I can be at fault and I don’t want to be stuck with vet bill.

I was driving along the second block from my house; it’s a very quiet neighborhood in Sunnyvale, CA. There was an oncoming car approaching, the road was nearly blocked by cars parked alongside. When I passed that car, that very moment I’ve heard my car was hit by something (my car didn’t run over anything, it was a side hit). In rear mirror I’ve seen a cat on the road. I do believe now cats have nine lives, the cat was amazingly alive. However, it was lying down on the road, not moving. There were gardeners with one of parked cars, offloading their mowers, they said cat waited for the other car to pass and jumped straight into my car, not seeing it coming. Other car driver turned around, the lady heard the hit and said she knows the cat owner. Owner (a few of them) ran out, no need to say they were pissed. When they tried to pick up the cat, it ran away like crazy, no legs broken.

At that time I gave them by card and said I’m terribly sorry but I couldn’t possibly see the cat. They said I should take care of vet bill; I was very shaken so I said Ok. They left for the vet.

I took a second look at my car, still trying to understand how the cat survived. I’ve found cat fur along the molding. Looks like cat jumped right into my car as it was passing by (here’s the picture).

I couldn’t possibly see the cat, as I’ve already said, it was blocked by oncoming traffic on narrow street and it smashed into the car at B-pillar.

I have great sympathy for the cat and I completely understand its owners will blame for the incident. I don’t believe, however, that I’m at fault. I have no idea what the law says in California. Should I pay the bill, should I let my insurance deal with that, or should I politely say them it’s not my fault?

I really appreciate your advice,
Thank you,
GreenG60.
 

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I'm a pet owner and friend to all animals, so don't paint me as a cat hater, but a pet -- be it a cat or dog -- wandering loose is definitely *not* your responsibility. Unless California law is completely whack or you were driving erratically, I can't see how the owners aren't completely culpable.
 

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As owner of two dogs, I can advice not to pay as long as it is obvious that cat hit the car not vice versa. Contrary they should pay for dammage, cause their pet was out of control and made dammage to your property.
 

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Seinfeld - Merv Griffin Show Episode comes to mind:

MIRANDA: George, what are you doing?

GEORGE: Did you see that? That-that pigeon didn't move! I had to swerve to get out of the way! I saved

that pigeons life!

MIRANDA: What pigeon? You drove right onto that squirrel. <leaves the car>

GEORGE: Squirrel? Well, we have no deal with THEM!

MIRANDA: Doctor, is the squirrel going to live?

DOCTOR: There's been massive trauma. We could of course try to save him but it would be costly,

difficult and we'd have to send away for some special really tiny instruments.

GEORGE: Well, uh, are there any other options?

DOCTOR: We could put him to sleep.

GEORGE: What might that cost?

DOCTOR: Well, it's by the pound. So ... about 80 cents.

GEORGE: Well? <Miranda hits George> I was just - I'm curious, that's all. We, uh. we'd like you to do everything possible.
 

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don't pay it man. let them try to bring to to court, if they want to, but they won't win, especially with that picture. and a pet should not be in the road in the first place. you wouldn't be responsible even if it died, unless they can prove that you maliciously went out of your way to hit it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update

I've printed the picture above and shown it to cat's owners. Now they saying "we've got witnesses you were driving too fast". They truly full of it, I never speed on my own street, I had my 2-year-old daughter in my car, I WASN'T SPEEDING!

I've had doubts whether should I pay or not. Now I'm not going to pay a dime.
 
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