What is my liability if my dog bit a visitor?

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What is my liability if my dog bit a visitor?

My dog is great with the family but does not like any visitors, so when people come over we keep her in her kennel. One day a friend came over with his kid and his child walk through my house without me knowing and went into my back yard. This startled the dog so she nipped/bit the child’s leg leaving 2 small skin piercings about a half inch apart. The doctor said that she will not even know it was there in a month and she was playing softball the next day. We are doing everything we can for his daughter but how much are we responsible for and can he sue us?

Asked on June 4, 2013 under Personal Injury, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The bad news is that in your state, as the dog owner, you are liable for any injuries your dog inflicts. The good news is, the child's parents can only sue for actual out-of-pocket medical costs (not covered by health insurance) and pain and suffering IF there was significant pain and suffering (e.g. disability; impairment of life functions or enjoyment) which, from what you write, does not appear to be the case. Based on what you write, you may have to cover out-of-pocket medical bills, but that would seem to be it.


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