If I had a party and a little girl scared my dog so he bit her in the face, even if the family said they won’t sue can their heath insurer come after me to get money?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I had a party and a little girl scared my dog so he bit her in the face, even if the family said they won’t sue can their heath insurer come after me to get money?

Even if the parents don’t want me to? They have reached there deductible this year and said they would basically pay nothing. But people have been warning me that oh there heath insurance is gonna sue you for damages and get all there money back is that possible?

Asked on August 3, 2015 under Personal Injury, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The health insurer has the legal right to try to recover any amounts they pay out from a person or family they believe was at fault in causing the injuries; this is called "subrogation." Because it is the insurer's right to do this if they choose, they may do even if their insured (the parents, in this case) do not want to. Whether they will or won't try depends on whether they think it is a strong case and enough money at stake to make it worth their while--e.g. to make it worth the legal/attorneys' costs. Even if they do try to recover the money from you, it is not guaranteed that they'd win: to win, they'd have to show that you had been negligent, or unreasonably careless, in how you supervised, handled, etc. your dog. In dog bite cases, that usually means that you had reason to know the dog was a biter or vicious, such as due to previous incidents; and conversely, usually if there was no reason to suspect the dog would bite or attack, there typically is no liability.

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