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Michael Paul O'Brien

Michael O'Brien’s Answers

2 total

  • Dog Bite

    On Hallween night a 12 yr. ld boy dressed in costume came up onto our porch for candy and our dog bit him. We were not home at the time and therefore were not handing out candy. I did accidentally leave our proch light on from when my sister had...

    Michael’s Answer

    In many jurisdictions, your liability will depend upon the plaintiff's ability to prove your dog's vicious propensity. This means that the plaintiff will not have a case unless they can show that prior to the 12 year old's bite, the dog had previously bit or acted aggressively toward someone else. Ways to prove this can include another person who was bit or almost bit by your dog prior to the 12 year old's bite, or even a note in your dog's veterinary records indicating a behavior problem.

    The next consideration is the 12 year old's damages. Considering his age, he most likely had a tetanus shot at the very least. Anything that pierces the skin on a 12-year-old will likely have some value.

    Depending upon your state's laws and the language in your homeowners' insurance policy, you may be required to report this incident to your insurance company. If you don't notify them now and get sued later, they may have grounds to deny coverage.

    These are just some of the issues to consider. If you get sued, contact your insurance company right away. And if you don't have insurance, contact a lawyer who specializes in personal injury defense litigation right away.

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  • Auto accident with personal injuries.

    It was a two car accident at an intersection and I had the right of way. The other car disobeyed the stop sign and ran into us (broad sided) and spun our car 180 degrees. The other driver got the ticket. There were two other passengers in my ca...

    Michael’s Answer

    Some points to keep in mind:
    1. The other car should have the bulk of liability for failure to comply with a traffic control device. However, you may be partially responsible if the other vehicle's attorneys can show you had an opportunity to avoid the accident but did not try to avoid the accident.
    2. The other driver's receipt of a ticket does not prove liability in court. There are different burdens of proof and an officer's opinion as to how the accident happened if he did not witness the accident is generally inasmissible in court. However that information on the police report will help you put pressure on the other car's claims adjuster for more settlement money.
    3. You will need a different lawyer than your passengers. As mentioned in point 1 above, if you are held partially responsible for the accident, your passengers may have a claim against you in addition to the other driver. A conflict of interest arises if an attorney represents 2 clients with competing interests in the same action.
    4. You should speak with an attorney in your area who specializes in personal injury law. He or she will be able to provide an accurate determination of the "value" of your injuries, and will know how to negotiate with the claims adjuster. Depending upon the carrier involved, this sounds like a case that can be quickly settled without having to go to suit.
    Best of luck.

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