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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37971
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I let a 27 year old woman with a 2 year old move into my

Customer Question

I let a 27 year old woman with a 2 year old move into my house temporarily so she would not be homeless... After living with me for about 10 days there was an incident with my
dog and her boy while it was just them in the house..The boy was at one end of the house unsupervised and she was at the other end in her room... My dog was looking out the glass door in the garage watching me outside.. Since no one was there to see what happened I am guessing the boy walked up and got in the dogs space? Whose negligence is it? The boy was in the room with his mother when I went outside... I had instructed the woman on more than one occasion that if the child was unsupervised the dog was to me muzzled...She has since moved out and I have just received a letter from an attorney asking for my insurance information in regards ***** ***** accident at my house...Any insight would be greatly appreciated.... john
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Section 767.04 Fla. Stat. provides that the owner of a dog is liable for injuries caused by a dog to any person who is lawfully on the dog owner's private property at the time that the injuries occurred. The dog owner's liability is, however, reduced by the percentage of negligence attributable to the person bitten.

A two year old child is legally incapable of being negligent -- however, the parent has a duty to properly supervise, so the negligence of the parent becomes relevant in determining the percentage of fault attributable to the child. Benton v. School Board of Broward County, 386 So.2d 831, 834 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980) (parent has duty of reasonable care in supervising a minor child).

Anticipating your next question, you are likely to ask: how do I determine the percentage of negligence/fault. The answer is that you can't do this -- only a jury can make that determination. So, put yourself in the shoes of a juror, and decide who will get the money in this situation. Regrettably, because the child is so young, the jury will almost certainly take pity on the child, and reduce the mother's fault to the bare minimum. In short, this is a great case for the lawyer who contacted you, and a bad case for your homeowners insurer.

If you decline to provide your insurance company's identity to the lawyer, he/she will sue and you'll have to provide it, anyway. Whereas, if you provide the information voluntarily, your insurer is likely to settle the claim, and that will be the end of the matter.

Your insurance premium could increase, but that's nothing compared to what this could have cost you without any insurance. So, give the lawyer the insurance info, and hope for the best. When the insurer asks you about the matter, explain that the child was unsupervised. Don't tell the lawyer anything, except for your insurer's identity.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

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