MWhat to do if my dog bit a neighbor’s child?

UPDATED: Feb 19, 2013

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MWhat to do if my dog bit a neighbor’s child?

The dog was in our backyard when he was bit. We followed the child and the parents to the ER and offered on the spot to pay for medical costs. The parents of the child told us not to worry about paying the bill. The dog was put down and cleared of rabies. Now months after the incident the insurance company denied their medical claim and are coming to us to pay the bill. I am wondering since they refused our offer to pay (which we have witnesses) are we still responsible for the bill even if the child was on our property?

Asked on February 19, 2013 under Personal Injury, South Carolina


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is a good chance that you may have to pay the medical bills-- but not because you offered to initially-- but because it was your animal that caused an injury to another.  If the child was on your property at your invitation and proper measures were not taken to protect the child from the dog, then the parents could sue you or file a claim on your homeowner's insurance policy (assuming that you or your landlord have a policy).  If the child wandered into your yard and removed the protective devices that you had for the dog, then the result could be different.  A number of factors could affect your liability.  To know which factors will help and hurt your specific situation, you should really consult with a person injury defense attorney.  If you do have a homeowner's insurance policy, you need to let them know that there is a potential claim in the works.... and.... as part of your coverage, they may provide some degree of legal representation. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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