Am I liable if the person who rescued my dog had the interior oftheir car damaged?

My dog got out the front door on the 16th and we weren’t able to find her. One of our neighbors said that another neighbor had chased her down and taken her to the nearby shelter. After we picked her up, the neighbor who had rescued her called us and left a voicemail saying my dog had damaged his interior, and that he would be pursuing it. Am I at fault for that even though he could have called animal control rather than taking a strange dog into his vehicle? Is there not an argument to be made that he should have understood the risks of taking an unfamiliar animal into his vehicle?

Asked on December 17, 2018 under Accident Law, South Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You cannot be held liable for the voluntary action of another. Here, your neighbor chose to take your dog into their car, so you are not responsibe for any damagd resulted from that action. Your neighbor in effect assumed the risk of bringing a dog of which they were not famiiar into their car.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You are not liable. Your neighbor chose voluntarily to take another person's dog into his car: you are not liable for his voluntary choice; you did not command him to do this, offer to reimburse him for any costs or damage, or otherwise take responsibilit for his act. Furthermore, as you correctly say, there is an assumption of risk (understanding and accepting the risk) in taking an unfamiliar animnal into his car, and having assumed the risk, he cannot receive compensation. 

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