What to do if my dog bit a child and I had no home insurance at the time so I offered to pay doctor bills but now I’m being sued?

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What to do if my dog bit a child and I had no home insurance at the time so I offered to pay doctor bills but now I’m being sued?

When the victim heard that I didn’t have insurance they told me not to worry about it since the expense was so little that it didn’t make a difference. However, I have just received notice of a lawsuit. What is the limit of my liability and what can the amount of damages amount to? The bite was very minimal.

Asked on February 25, 2015 under Personal Injury, Arizona

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your liability for the child's injury includes compensation for the medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering.

Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills based on the medical reports which document tha nature and extent of the child's injuries.

If this is the first incident of the dog biting someone, you are liable for negligence.  If the dog has a history of biting, you are liabile for strict liability.

Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable dog owner would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).

Strict liability is liability imposed regardless of whether or not due care was exercised.

If there is a judgment in the case against you, it can be enforced through a wage garnishment.  A lien could also be placed on your property which means you would not be able to sell your house until the lien is removed.


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