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Bitten by friend's dog Animal Injury, Dog Bite

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by katie2, Nov 6, 2008.

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  1. katie2

    katie2 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My jurisdiction is: Rhode Island

    Last April I was bitten by my friend's dog while at his apartment. His dog had bitten family members twice before, so he begged me to tell the doctors at the emergency room that I was bitten by a stray. I was in a lot of pain, and quite upset, so I reluctantly agreed. He originally offered to help with the medical bills, but now says it's not his problem. I spent 3 days in the hospital, have numerous scars, and suffer from permanent nerve damage. Can I file a claim against him? Or did I ruin my chances because I didn't tell the truth when it happened?

    Updated: The upstairs neighbors witnessed the attack (left hand, left wrist, left thigh, and right upper arm). Actually, the neighbor was the one who drove me to the emergency room, so proving it was his dog shouldn't be a problem. My friend wasn't home at the time, I was doing a favor by letting the dog out in the yard before I left to go home. When I tried to bring her back inside she started growling at me. When I called my friend to ask him what to do, he suggested I give her a treat, and then untie her to bring her in. After she got the treat is when she attacked me. Actually I was still on the phone with him when she took the first bite. It is already on record as having bitten his mother and nephew. I think that is why he asked me to lie, he was afraid that because this was the third incident, that it would be put down. The neighbors heard me screaming and came into the yard to try to help me, but I told them to stay back, for fear that she may attack them, too. So they had to stand there and watch for about 3 min until I could get her back into the apartment. I was trying to drag her while she was locked onto my thigh.

    Originally he said he would help me. But now he takes no responsibility, saying it's MY fault because I should've given her one treat instead of two, or some kind of nonsense like that. I have medical insurance. But between the co-pays, prescriptions, dressings, etc. I'm already over $1000.00 out of pocket. I had to spend two months in physical therapy to regain use of my left hand.

    My main concern is that because I lied at the emergency room, the court may say "tough luck". I am also very concerned that this dog will most definitely bite again.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2008
  2. presutin

    presutin Moderator

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    You probably ruined some of your chances by lying at the emergency room. If you have any evidence that your friend admitted that his dog bit you and that he agreed to pay for your medical expenses, present that to the judge in small claims court. If you know of the family members that are willing to provide you with an affidavit testifying that the dog is vicious and has a history of biting people, add that to the evidence pile. Good luck to you!
     
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  3. Duranie

    Duranie Moderator

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    That is a severe bite. You should call your animal control. The dog sounds vicious and is probably going to attack someone else. Do you not have medical insurance? I would be seeing a personal injury attorney and see if you can file a claim against his homeowners or renters insurance but you lied about who bit you. You now may need proof it was his dog.
     
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  4. katie2

    katie2 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    There were witnesses

    Thanks for your reply. As a matter of fact, the two tenants from upstairs witnessed the whole thing. One of them actually was the one who drove me to the emergency room. My main concern is that I may get in trouble for lying, and I'm worried the dog may get put down. It is a vicious dog, however. The first two incidents with family members were both documented. That's why he asked me to lie. He was afraid the dog would be put to sleep. I believed that he would help me. I do have insurance, but between co-pays for all the doctors, surgeons, physical therapy, and medications, I've spent over $1000.00.
     
  5. dee_dub

    dee_dub Moderator

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    Lots of places (don't know if Rhode Island is one of them) have what's called a "one free bite" rule - the owner might not be liable the first time the dog bites someone, because before that, they don't know its vicious. After that, the owner should know, and should take proper precautions. They'll be liable if the dog bites again.

    As the previous posters have said, your difficulty will be proving a) that his dog bit you, and b) that it was known to be vicious. The second part might not be as much of an issue - the one-bite rule could be modified by the owner's insurance policy. It might cover him for any damage his dog inflicts, even if it's the first time it's bitten someone.

    This website might be helpful to you: http://www.dogbitelaw.com/ Lots of good stuff there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
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  6. PILawGirl

    PILawGirl Moderator

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    You also need to find out if your friend even has a homeowners or renters insurance policy to go after.
     
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