What to do if the guy who takes care of my lawn and entered my backyard without my knowledge and was bitten by my dog?

UPDATED: Sep 27, 2014

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What to do if the guy who takes care of my lawn and entered my backyard without my knowledge and was bitten by my dog?

He is supposed to let me know when he is coming so I can keep my dogs inside. While he was entering my yard my dog did bite him enough to break the skin. I know it is my responsibility for my dog so I offered to pay for his medical bills. He went to the doctor 10 days later and then filed the report. He told me he wanted $300 for his bills. I told him that is fine but I would like some type of documentation for my personal records. I did pay him his $300, however I never received any type of documentation. He now wants to sue me. Can he sue if he settled on an amount and I have proof with text messages?

Asked on September 27, 2014 under Personal Injury, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) If you can prove there was a settlement *agreement*--i.e. an agreement that he would not sue you in exchange for $300--then that agreement would preclude him from suing. However, without an agreement that in exchange for the money, he would not sue, he could still sue--and the $300 would simple be an offset or credit against what you might otherwise owe.

2) However, you would only be  liable if you were negligent, or unreasonably careless. It is not likely that you would be judged to be negligent if he came into your backyard without your knowledge or giving you a chance to put your dogs in, since, as you write, he was aware that you had dogs and that he had to tell you when he was coming so you could lock up the dogs. You, based on what you write, did nothing wrong or careless--you did not know at the time that you had to lock up the dogs. Under these circumstances, there is a reasonable likelihood that he, in fact, would be considered to have been the negligent, or careless, party, for entering when he knew he should not have.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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