Post # 1
Hi, regular be going anon for this one.
This happened yesterday morning and the neighbors have gone on vacation after refusing to pay my daughter’s medical bills.
5 year old daughter is good friends with our next door neighbor’s daughter and spends a lot of time at their house. We’re all more than neighbors, we’re friends and we’ve lived next to each other for 6 years. The neighbors left on a week-long cruise this morning and yesterday they invited my daughter over for lunch to say goodbye to their daughter before they left. When my daughter went over there, the dog was loose in the yard (which is normal) and I was outside watching her get inside safely. The dog (3 year old golden retriever) approached my daughter to say hello and my daughter held out her hand (underhand, palm up) about a foot away from the dog so that he could smell it (like I taught her) before petting the dog. She’s done this thousands of times before with this dog and always approaches that way before petting him. The dog immediately bit her hand and shook it back and forth like a chew toy. According to articles I’ve read online about dog bite severity, this was a level 4 bite. I ran into the yard screaming and the dog let go and ran inside through the dog door. My daughter’s hand was pooled with blood and after rinsing it, you can see the bones in her hand. The neighbors came over immediately but I didn’t have time to speak to them in my rush to get my daughter to the hospital. She’s fine, but very traumatized. She had five stitches on her hand and will have to go back two more times to check for nerve damage as her healing progresses. I told them the truth at the hospital about what happened. The neighbors are refusing to pay for her medical bills and are furious at me for “reporting” their dog. They say it wasn’t his fault and that he was nervous because they were packing up to leave for the week. The medical bills are expensive and would take a huge chunk of the money we’ve saved for our daughter’s education. I don’t know what to do. Animal control came yesterday to put the dog in 10 day quarantine. They will be coming back later this week to interview my daughter and myself. I plan on telling the truth. It was an unprovoked attack. I’m hoping I won’t have to sue them in order for them to pay the medical bills, but from where it stands now, that might be my only option. I’m really at a loss and I’m so furious that my daughter was hurt. Has anyone else dealt with something like this before?
Post # 2
I haven’t, but if you are friends with your neighbors know that suing them will make it very awkward for you to be living next to one another once this is all over (no matter what the resolution will be). I think they should pay for her medical bills and if it were my dog (if I had one) I would be mortified and embarassed and would absolutely cover her hospital visit. Maybe they will once they get back from their cruise?
Post # 3
Get a lawyer.
Seriously. Your kid was injured and they have a lame-arse excuse.
You don’t have to sue to get a lawyer but you should probably have one as the dr is worried about NERVE DAMAGE. That can be a lifetime issue…this is way more than an ER co-pay.
Post # 4
Look up your state’s laws on dog bite liability. Some states make the owner strictly liable, meaning regardless of whether the dog has a tendency to bite, the owner is responsible. Def consider getting a lawyer.
Post # 5
Their refusal to pay at least some of the medical bills is bad enough that the friendship is probably over anyway, so if you need to take them to court then so be it. I would. I don’t blame you for being upset, especially since they are trying to dodge responsibility.
Post # 6
dogproblem1: I would want them to pay for medical bills as well (do you have insurance?)– based ln the way they seem to be behaving (dismissing the dogs behavior since they were busy packing up for vaca)–I’d be livid.
Yes, sueing them will make for awkward times– especially because my guess is your daughter may still want to be friends with their daughter. But at the same time- with how you’ve explained thier actions so far, I don’t even know if I’d want to continue a relationship with them at this point.
I’d wait until they get back from vacation, and talk to them again. Truth is- I see almost NO way you wouldn’t win that court battle- so you might get them to be understanding and fork it over.
Post # 7
dogproblem1: You probably won’t have to sue for the medical bills — your health insurance will. They’ll go after the neighbors’ homeowner’s insurance and will probably win. You would be a witness, not the plaintiff in that case. If you wanted to sue for pain and suffering, then you would sue them and/or their homeowner’s insurance. As someone mentioned, that would likely destroy the friendship, but real friends wouldn’t put you in that position.
Post # 8
Look up the laws for your state. My dog was just bit by another dog which lead to my looking up the laws in my state. Turns out that it says right there in black and white that owners of a pet are responsible for any damages caused by their animal, be it to property damages or medical bills due to personal injury. If that is the case in your state, I would show them that and tell them you will get a lawyer if need be, but hopefully that will be enough to scare them to pay up so that you don’t have to go through the hassle and paying for a laywer.
Post # 9
dogproblem1: Yep. Consult a lawyer. They are absolutely responsible for her current medical bills and if there is permanent damage, you’ll definitely want to have a lawyer as she may be entitled to more than that.
It will probably be awkward with your neighbors if you sue them, but it’s going to be awkward anyway if you don’t and they refuse to pay.
Post # 10
I agree with previous posters. Get a lawyer and at least investigate liability issues regarding animals. Most lawyers will consult with you over the phone for 15-30 minutes without charging to discuss whether or not you have a case. Document everything. EVERYTHING. Save any and all medical paperwork. Your neighbors are dumbasses if they are made because you reported their dog. It wasn’t exactly a playful nip.
Post # 11
I am in MA and this is what I’ve found so far:
“Massachusetts has one of the best laws for the protection of dog bite victims, especially young children. A dog owner or keeper is strictly liable for dog bites unless the victim was trespassing, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog, or was committing another tort. A child under the age of 7 is presumed to have done none of those things, but the presumption is rebuttable.
General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 140: Section 155. Liability for damage caused by dog; minors; presumption and burden of proof.
Section 155. If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, is under seven years of age at the time the damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof thereof shall be upon the defendant in such action.”
I have a text from my neigbor inviting DD over for lunch.
Post # 12
Sorry to hear your daughter got bit that must have been a pretty scary situation.
I have two excitable dog I don’t let them around little kids because you never know, and I would be devistated if they bit a child. If the worst was to happen I would be fully respoonsible because when you own a pet this is part of their ownership.
Any dog can bite under the right circumstance, that is no reason for the to be dodging their responsibilites. Hopefully they come to their senses and take care of your daughter the way they should.
Post # 13
dogproblem1: I’ve never had to deal with anything like this so can’t offer much in the way of advise but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you and your daughter have to go through this.
My thoughts are with your daughter, it must have been a very upsetting situation and I hope that there is no lasting damage (to the nerves in her hand or to her feelings regarding dogs).
Your neighbours 100% should pay. Perhaps they were just too stressed about this happening so soon before their vacation and once they get back they will help out.
ETA: I would keep that text just in case! What everyone has said regarding suing is correct but the more you keep the better. I would also write down everything you remember about the incident now while it’s fresh. Also, when you feel it won’t upset your daighter to much ask her to do the same (obviously you will need to write for her). These things will all help just in case it does end up going to court.
Post # 14
MrsEME: I do have insurance but the out of pocket part was still pretty substantial.
I am worried that living next to each other will be awkward from now on and I’m not very optimistic on that front. DD will certainly want to keep her friend, but I don’t imagine she’ll be wanting to go over there anytime soon, depending on what happens to the dog. We were supposed to have our usual Sunday dinner last night at my MIL’s house and when I asked DD if she was up for going she said no because she didn’t want to be around nana’s doggie. (MIL has a cockapoo).
Post # 15
Your daughter put her hand out (NOT the correct way to do it, by the way – should be the back of the hand, with palm DOWN) on THIER property.
RARELY is there ever an “unprovoked attack.” Dogs give signs that they are feeling uncomfortable, and THEN they attack – but “unprovoked” is something that can be argued against by any animal behaviorist.
You should NEVER EVER let a child approach an animal – I don’t care how well aquainted you are with them, if they are not your own – by themselves OR WITHOUT THE OWNERS PRESENT AS WELL. Why? Because adults are piss-poor with telling the temperment of an animal, and children are worse.
Sorry, but an animal is an animal is an animal. Your daughter approached their dog, on their property – I HATE seeing animals be put down for that. This is completely different than a loose dog bite.