Making the decision to file a lawsuit against someone can be difficult for most people. When that person is a friend, the decision seems nearly impossible. Nonetheless, it is not that uncommon that clients are injured while visiting a friend and, depending on the circumstances, that friend may be liable for your injuries. Suing friend for injury after a dog bite may not be something you want to do, but it may be the only way you can afford to pay the medical bills that result from the injury. You have options, so be sure to discuss them with your personal injury attorney.
Is my friend actually responsible for the dog bite?
The laws that govern liability for dog bite injuries are established by each state individually. In most cases, the person who is responsible for the dog, at the time of the injury, is the first person to consider. This is especially true if that person knew the dog was likely to bite or attack. Usually that is the dog’s owner, but not always.
Who can be held liable for dog bite injuries?
Consider, for example, a situation where your friend, whom you were visiting, was actually pet-sitting for someone else. That would mean your friend is not the actual owner of the dog. However, since your friend was responsible for the dog at the time you were injured, there may still be a basis for liability. It really depends on the circumstances.
There could also be a situation where a dog was simply on your friend’s property, when you were attacked. Most likely, your friend would not be liable, unless he or she knew the dog was there, knew the dog was dangerous, but was negligent in not having the dog removed.
What should I do if my friend is most likely responsible?
You will usually have the option of filing a personal injury claim against your friend’s homeowner’s insurance carrier, instead of filing the claim against your friend directly. Most homeowner’s policies will cover situations like this, allowing you to receive compensation for your medical expenses and other losses, without seeking that money directly from your friend. This type of claim will likely not affect your friend’s financial situation, as their personal assets should not be at issue. Even though you are not suing your friend, per se, it would still be a good idea to inform him or her about your intentions, so they won’t feel blindsided by your actions.
If you have questions regarding liability for dog bite injuries, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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