Compensation for getting pulled to the ground while walking a dog?

by Nancy
(Keene, NH)

I was walking a big dog (for work) and the dog pulled me down while chasing an animal. The fall was not on the homeowners property. I have had two rotator surgeries due to this fall, and perhaps more surgery is due. I am unable to work again in this field.

I am on workers compensation benefits, but now I'm wondering if the owners of the dog should be responsible for any of my bills or compensation, even though they are renters in a condo complex? What about the owner of the condo complex? Any thoughts? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Compensation for getting pulled to the ground while walking a dog?":

Nancy (Keene, NH):

We presume you work for a company which provides dog walking services, and as a result of the dog walking injury you filed a workers' compensation claim with your employer.

There are three (3) scenarios to consider:

First: The complex owner is likely not responsible for your injuries and resultant emergency medical bills and lost wages. For the complex owners to be legally responsible, or "liable," you would have to prove the complex owners were negligent. From the facts you present, there doesn't appear to be any owner negligence.

Second: The renters may have renter’s insurance. If so, you can ask the renters to give you the name and contact information of their insurance company. With that information you can file an injury claim.

However, if you do file an injury claim with the renter’s insurance company, any compensation you receive will likely have to be turned over to the workers' compensation insurance company after they pay the claim you filed with them.

Doing so is known as "subrogating" against you for monies they paid out for the same injury. This prevents victims from "double-dipping" so they don't receive the same compensation twice for the same injury claim.

Third: You can file a lawsuit against the dog owners in small claims court.

The New Hampshire legislature recently increased small claims courts' "jurisdictional" limit, or maximum amount a plaintiff can sue for, from $7,500.00 to $10,00.00. For information about New Hampshire Small Claims Courts, including forms, procedures, hearings, and more go to the NH Dept of Justice website.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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