Who is liable for medical bills if a pet sitter is bitten by a dog? 13 Answers as of August 17, 2015

The dog I watch for my neighbor while he was on vacation bit me in the face when I was attempting to put his leash on. I had to go to urgent care to get stitches. The dog is comfortable with me most of the time, but he still gets riled up and aggressive. Who is responsible for my medical bills?

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James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
Unless the owner knew the dog was vicious (i.e. he had bitten before), and didn't tell you, you are on your own on your medical bills. However, if the homeowner had homeowner's insurance, and if there is a medical payments provision in there, the insurance company may pay your medical bills only. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/17/2015
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
In all likelihood the dog's owner, but also the person who took responsibility for the dog during the owner's absence. Probably both of them have insurance. It's probably best to consult a local personal injury lawyer. In any case, assemble all your medical bills, and consider any other harm the dog may have caused, such as time lost from work, scars on your face or body, any other pain and suffering you may have undergone and a lawyer could probably come up with additional grounds for liability. Depending on the state you are in, you may have to show that your negligence was less than that of either of the two potential defendants.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 8/17/2015
Candiano Law Office
Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
You are responsible. You accepted this family as a client. You assumed the risk of injury.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/17/2015
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
You are. You knew about the dog before it happened.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/17/2015
Pius Joseph A Professional Law Corp. | Pius Joseph
Your neighbor is responsible for your bills . Neighbor can use his Homeowner's insurance to pay your bills or else retain a personal injury lawyer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/17/2015
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    The owner of the dog. You did not waive any of the owner's liability by agreeing to sit the dog. If you baby sat for a couple and one of the kids hit you over the head, don't you think the parents would be responsible?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2015
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    Usually the dog owner will have liability insurance, including a med pay coverage, that can pay for your uninsured medicals (up to the limits of the med pay coverage, which are usually something like $3k to $5k). You may also have a liability claim re: your pain and suffering and any scarring. Probably your best bet is to contact local counsel who regularly handles animal claims for a free consultation which should help you decide what is your best course.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/14/2015
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C.
    Law Offices of Richard M. Levy P.C. | Richard M. Levy
    It depends on the specifics. The homeowner could be responsible. Consult a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/14/2015
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Initially you are responsible for the bills. Generally you would have a claim to get reimbursement from the dog owner. If you were caring for the dog you might be considered the dogs keeper and therefore not have a strict liability claim. If the owners knew or should have known something that they didn't warn you about they may be responsible for negligence.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/14/2015
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Neighbor is probably responsible and should pay or submit the charges to their home insurance company and pay their deductible.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 8/14/2015
    End, Hierseman & Crain, LLC | J. Michael End
    The people's homeowners insurance company. If the dog had bitten before, you are entitled to double damages, assuming this happened in Wisconsin.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/14/2015
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    The owner of the dog would be responsible for your injuries. How many stitches did you get as a result of the incident?
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/14/2015
    The Medler Law Firm LLC | John Medler
    The first thing you need to know is what breed of dog this was. If it was a breed known to be violent, like a pitbull or Rottweiler, then you may have a case against the owner even if this is the first time the dog has bit someone. If the dog is not a breed which is known to be aggressive, then Missouri follows the "one bite" rule. If the owner knows that the dog is aggressive, because it has bitten someone before, then the owner can be liable for the second bite. If the dog has never bit anyone before, and it is not a violent breed, then you may not have a claim. Also, if you were hired to be the pet sitter, then the defendant has an argument that you assumed the risk of dog injury. You need to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible and get a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/14/2015
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