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My dog bit a jogger. Do I need to pay his medical bills and consult with an attorney?

Arlington Heights, IL |

I let my dog in the front yard w/out a leash to go to the restroom. Usually, he is well behaved. But for some reason, he got spooked and bit a jogger running by. He bit him in the leg. Two days later, I got the jogger's doctor bill in the mail for 60 dollars! Nothing was wrong with him, he just got checked out. So now should I pay up, or not. Also, would a personal injury lawyer help in this situation. Thanks.

Attorney Answers 14

  1. Report it to your homeowners insurance company.

    Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff

  2. Generally, you are strictly liable for all dog bite injuries inflicted by your dog, if he wasn't provided. It sounds like the jogger did not provoke him, so you are liable for the injuries.

    Do you have homeowner's or renter's insurance? If so, you can turn it over to them to defend.

    I'd be careful with the jogger. He can still bring suit. Ask for a release in exchange for payment of the $60 dollars.

    This answer is intended as informational only, and does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship between us.

  3. It is your responsibility. Turn it in to your insurance in case anything else comes of it.

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate by providing feedback that the answer was either "helpful" or "best answer" as appropriate. Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question.

  4. Pay the $60. If that's all there is, you are in great shape. Otherwise, you will have to file a claim against your homeowners insurance. You need to keep you dog on a leash if that is a local ordinance.

  5. You are both approaching this in good faith, it seems. I agree with my colleague. Give it a try to work it out. A lawyer working for both of you would be a good idea, if he will agree. You will pay the lawyer. Could be a good investment.
    Ps I rescued a cat once from a fall and got scratched. Handled it the same way, except I was the lawyer for both of us. It all worked out.

    Answering this question does not set up a attorney-client relationship between us. My comments do not constitute legal advice. If you would like to pursue representation, please contact me.

  6. You are almost certainly responsible for the bite. Illinois holds dog owners strictly liable for dog bites with only a few exceptions (provocation and trespassing), neither of which appear to be present here.

    It sounds like the victim is being extremely reasonable in only asking for medical bills to be paid. You can either report it to your homeowners'/renters' insurance carrier or hire a lawyer to draft a settlement agreement and release for the jogger to sign in exchange for you paying the medical bills.

    You could just pay the bills and hope it goes away, but without a release you could be sued later.

    Though we strive to provide accurate legal information in our answers on AVVO, our answer should not be construed as legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Our firm only forms attorney-client relationships by written agreement signed by both our firm and the client. Please seek an in-person consultation with an attorney immediately as almost all legal matters are time sensitive and failing to meet deadlines can result in adverse consequences.

  7. If you pay the $60, make sure you get a full signed release from any other liability.

    Otherwise, turn this in to your renter's or homeowner's insurance.

    Either way, you are liable for what your dog does, so you are on the hook.

    This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.

  8. Yes, pay him!

    As a dog owner, you are responsible for damages and injuries caused by your dog. This would be covered under your homeowner's insurance but the amount is under the deductible. Also, there is absolutely nothing unreasonable about a person that his been bitten seeing his doctor to get checked out and incurring a $60.00 bill. Take responsibility, be thankful that the jogger wasn't injured, and pay the bill.

    Steven A. Sigmond
    Chicago, IL

    A free consultation is not legal advice, nor is the answer to the question listed above or anything posted on this website. This answer is general information. Proper legal advice can only be obtained after hiring an attorney and providing full information regarding your case. The Law Office of Steven A. Sigmond offers a free initial consultation (not legal advice) regarding personal injury and workers comp in Illinois.

  9. In Illinois there is a statute know as the "Animal Control Act." Basically it is strict liability. If you own a dog and that dog bites someone where they have a right to be your are liable, period. The only defense is provocation. If I were you I would pay the $60.00 in exchange for a release and be done with it, but report it to your insurance.

  10. Simply turn it over to your homeowner's insurance company to resolve.

  11. The first thing you should do is contact your insurance agent for your homeowners insurance and tell them everything about what happened. At this time, you have no obligation to pay the medical bill that was mailed to you. Your insurance company will determine what to do to defend you and/or compensate the other person. If a lawsuit is filed, your insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend you in court. Because of the way most insurance policies are drafted, it is important that you contact your agent or the insurance company to report the claim as soon as possible.

  12. I agree with my colleagues. Turn it over to your homeowners insurance carrier.

    My post is for informational purposes only and in no way establishes an attorney client relationship.

  13. The law regarding dog bites vary from state to state. Since you are in Illinois, heed the advice of Mr. Kasher who is licensed in Illinois. The following Avvo guide should also provide you with some helpful information:

  14. You should consult with a lawyer and if you have homeowner's insurance, you should notify them immediately.

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