Visitor Question

Dog bit my dog and myself, can we sue the owners for medical bills?

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

I am a dog sitter and got a request from a couple to sit their dog. On the day of the meet and greet, before we confirmed the booking, we let both the dogs in my backyard to play under our supervision.

My dog tried to approach their dog to play and their dog started barking and my dog went into submissive mode by laying on the ground showing her belly, meaning no harm. That’s when their dog aggressively went after my dog and bit very hard on its leg.

My dog yelped in pain and I immediately jumped in to stop the other dog. I grabbed my dog to save it and tried to push the other dog away. That’s when it bit me, and then it stopped. We would like to know if we can sue the other dog owners for our medical bills. How do we do that? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

Hopefully you won’t have to sue the dog owners. From the facts you present, it appears your dog did not contribute to the incident, and in fact was completely non-aggressive.

Because of this, the dog owners should be liable for your dog’s vet bills (if any) and your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses (for medications, bandages, costs of travel to and from medical treatment, etc.), lost wages (if applicable), and for your pain and suffering.

Fortunately, some homeowners insurance policies cover injuries and property damage caused by dogs owned by the property owner. This is true even of the incident occurred off-premises. If the dog owners are renting, they may carry renter’s insurance with a rider covering dog bites.

Ask the homeowners for their insurance contact information. Then contact the insurance company and file an injury claim. As long as coverage existed at the time of the attack, then the insurance company should pay.

In the event the dog owners did not have insurance at the time of the attack, and they won’t agree to voluntarily pay you for your medical bills and related costs, your next and probably only recourse would be to file a lawsuit against them in small claims court. Check the jurisdictional limit (maximum amount) you can sue for in small claim court in your state.

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

Best of luck,

Published: March 3, 2015

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