What are my rights/responsibilities if my dog bit a delivery man?

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What are my rights/responsibilities if my dog bit a delivery man?

We have a fenced in yard w/multipule signs posted on the gate, a door bell at the gate and a latch on the gate. He ignored them all and entered the yard were he was bitten. Today I received a letter from a lawyer representing the man he ants to sue.

Asked on September 8, 2015 under Personal Injury, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, anyone can threaten a lawsuit, or even file a lawsuit. But based on what you write, he does not appear to have a winning suit. An animal's owner is generally only liable if he/she was negligent, or careless, in how he/she secured or handled the animal, and that carelessness led to the injury. However, based on what you write, you took all reasonable precautions, so you were not liable. Furthermore, if anyone was negligent, it would have been the delivery man, since he entered a posted and locked yard--and the negligence or carelessness of the injured party can reduce, or in extreme cases, even eliminate, what he could otherwise recover in a lawsuit.
Therefore, this appears to be  very weak case. That said, if a suit is actually filed, take it seriously if you fail to respond appropriately to a lawsuit, you can lose by default, regardless of how weak the case is. If you have homeowner's insurance with liability insurance, you should be able to turn this over to your insurer if not, if sued, you are advised to retain an attorney to help you.


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