What to do if my dog and the neighbor’s cat got into a fight?

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What to do if my dog and the neighbor’s cat got into a fight?

My dogs escaped from our house and ended up getting into a fight with our neighbor’s cat. They are both super friendly and are also cat friendly. I can’t help but think they went up to play/smell the cat and the cat attacked first. However, either way we are okay with paying the vet bills. The owner went to the ER for his cat biting him when he tried to pick it up after the situation, antibiotics, shots and an X-ray, for a cat bite. We have been super compliant with the neighbor, checking in on the cat and offering to pay the bill. He also asked us to pay the medical bill for his ER visit, and warned us that he has a high deductible insurance.He sent us an email asking us to call the vet to pay and

Asked on July 16, 2018 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, do not "claim responsibility": as you correctly intuit, doing so could potentially be used against you in anothe proceeding.
You are not liable for his ER bill: that was not "proximally caused" by your dog getting out and fighting the cat. That is, the causal link is too distant, too attenuated, and not reasonably foreseeable (it is not logically predictable that if a dog fights a cat, the cat's owner gets bitten later, at the vet); any causal link is further broken by the supervening acts of other persons (e.g. the vet or vet tech, who may not have given the cat back to him in a proper way to avoid a bite; him, who may not have handled his cat correctly). Person A is only liable for person B's injuries if A caused it through some act of negligence (unreasonable carelessness) AND B's injury was caused by A's act, not by other actors or other factors, AND B's injury was a reasonably foreseeable outcome of A's act. In this case, the neighbor cannot hold you liable for his ER bill or injury.


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