My daughter and I were in a farm and fleet store in South Dakota. They had some rabbits for sale in cages and my 20 month old daughter was petting them by putting her finger through the cage. One of them bit her and sliced her finger open. The cages werent marked at all (got pictures of it and the wound). An employee was very accomodating and took us in back (she was bleeding all over the store) and filed a report. He then had us go to an immediate care and said their insurance would cover it. I went back after the immediate care and told him about some prescriptions we had to fill and he said that he would make sure that we were reimbursed since the pharmacy couldn't bill their insurance. Do we have a case here? How much are we talking, is it worth taking to court? Help!
I agree with Mr Bello, but just want to say that I think that you are going to have a very tough time convincing a judge and/or jury that the store was completely at fault. It is common sense that you don't stick your finger's in an animal's cage and you should not have allowed your child to put her fingers in the cage regardless of whether the display was marked or not.
Frankly, I think you should be grateful your child was not more seriously hurt and that the store is covering the costs of the injury and leave it at that.
There is a potential premises liability case, but be prepared for an argument that you were also negligent for not properly watching your daughter. If they have had rabbits biting children in the past, it becomes a better case, but there is still a question of how serious the injury was. Your question does not go into the seriousness of the injury; did the child need stitches, tetanus shot, rabies shot? You should retain an attorney in your area and discuss damages; whether it is "worth taking to court" depends on how serious the injury is and how serious the local lawyer takes the case. If you need a referral in your area, please see the referral service section at www.lawsuitfinancial.com. My company will provide a referral in all 50 states. Or, you can peruse the Avvo site and I am sure that it will provide you with the profile of a competant South Dakota attorney. Good luck.
When you file a lawsuit you must be prepared to articualte your damages - in this case there really isn't a strong claim for non-economic damages such as for pain and suffering or permanent impairment. The only economic damages will be the medical expenses. So from a cost-benefit prespective, if you are reimbursed for your daughter's medical expenses then you are probably ahead of what you could recover from a lawsuit since you have not incurred any attorney fees. And just as an observation, many potential jurors would view this as a frivolous case and resent losing time from their lives to sit for the trial.
The information provided to you in this answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation if you have further questions.
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