If someone’s dog attacked and injured my dog, what form do I need to have someone sign to make sure he pays for my dogs vet bill?

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If someone’s dog attacked and injured my dog, what form do I need to have someone sign to make sure he pays for my dogs vet bill?

My dog was recently attacked by another dog. The owner of the dog that attacked my dog told us on the phone that he would pay the vet bill. What form do I need to get him to sign to make sure he pays? Can I just type up a letter myself and have him sign it? Or would that be not a good idea?

Asked on July 13, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can type a statement for the dog owner to sign, but even if he doesn't sign he is liable for the vet bill since he is the owner of the dog that attacked your dog.

As the owner of the dog, he has a duty to control his dog.  If he doesn't pay the vet bill, you could sue him for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that in this case a reasonable dog owner would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  In order to prove negligence, you will need to prove duty (to control the dog), breach of duty (failure to control the dog), actual cause, proximate cause, and damages.  Actual cause means but for the dog owner's failure to control his dog, would your dog have been injured?  If the answer is no, which appears to be the case, you have established actual cause.  Proximate cause means were there any unforeseeable intervening events which would relieve the dog owner of liability?  If the answer is no, you have established proximate cause.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit (the vet bill). 

Most likely, this would be a Small Claims Court case. 

If this is not the first incident of the dog attacking, the owner would also be liable under strict liability.  Strict liability means the dog owner is liable whether or not he exercised due care.


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