If my son was mauled by my bosses dog at her house, what are my rights?

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If my son was mauled by my bosses dog at her house, what are my rights?

I went to my new employer’s house to fill out paperwork. I took my son as he’s been there many times with my mom while she was housesitting. We spent a few minutes in the backroom. My 8 year old son peered out the back door as it was a glass type screen door; he was looking for the goats that he feeds when he’s there. Then my employer and I stepped into the next room to do the paperwork. We heard the back door open and close and my employer asked,

Asked on May 23, 2016 under Personal Injury, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The owners of the dog are liable for your son's injuries.  Prior to filing a lawsuit against the owners, it may be possible to settle the case with their homeowner's insurance carrier.  Notify the homeowner's insurance carrier in writing of your son's personal injury claim.
When your son completes his medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in his medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain his medical bills and medical reports.  Your son's personal injury claim filed with the homeowner's insurance carrier should include those items.  It would also be advisable to have your son see a psychiatrist or psychologist regarding his emotional trauma and nightmares caused by the dog attack.  Those medical bills and medical reports should also be included in your son's personal injury claim filed with the homeowner's insurance carrier. 
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of his injuries and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.
If the case is settled with the homeowner's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the homeowner's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit on behalf of your son against the homeowners for negligence and 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 imposes liability whether or not due care was exercised.  Strict liability is applicable because the dog has a history of biting.  Negligence and strict liability are separate causes of action (claims) in the lawsuit.
You will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on behalf of your son because he is a minor.
If the case is NOT settled with the homeowner's insurance carrier, your son's lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your son will lose his rights forever in the matter.


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