When you hire a babysitter to watch your kids, you're putting your trust in them. But what if something goes wrong?
The laws concerning dog bites and fault in Texas can be confusing, but here's what you need to know if your child was hurt during their stay with a babysitter.
Who's Liable for the Dog Bite?
In Texas, it's the dog owner's duty to protect others from their dog. This is true no matter the person, no matter the place and no matter the breed. If your dog hurts someone else, you're going to be held liable. Similarly, if your babysitter was in the front yard with your child with a passing dog attacked them, the dog's owner will be held liable - not the babysitter.
"Liability" simply means they dog owner is at fault for the incident. It's important to know who's at fault for a dog bite because whoever is at fault will also be in charge of paying for the injuries their dog caused.
Dog bite claims are made using the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy.
Is This Still True If The Dog Bit Your Child Inside Your Home?
Let's say you hire a babysitter who (whether you know it or not) brings their dog to your home. If the dog bites your child, the babysitter (the dog owner) will be responsible. Since babysitters are usually minors who live with their parents, you'll likely make a claim using the babysitter's parent's insurance.
This is true in all kinds of cases. Essentially, a dog owner's responsibility to protect others from their dog follows them around - it doesn't transfer to you just because your child was bitten in your own home. It doesn't transfer to a babysitter just because they were watching your child when it happened. The responsibility is on the dog owner, and if their dog bites, their insurance will need to pay for the medical bills.
If Your Child Is Bit By a Dog, File a Claim Through The Dog Owner's Homeowner's Insurance
Dog bite claims in Texas are filed through the dog owner's homeowner's insurance.
As a dog bite attorney, I'm often asked about what happens when the dog attack didn't actually happen on the dog owner's property. It doesn't matter where the attack happens - homeowner's insurance follows the homeowner.
Many Texans have homeowner's insurance since it's required by mortgage lenders. If your child was hurt by a dog, get the insurance information from the dog owner so that you can start a claim.
What If Your Own Dog Bit Your Child While There Was a Babysitter Watching?
Then you'll use your own homeowner's insurance.
Making a Claim Against Someone You Know
As a Texas injury lawyer, I can tell you that lots of dog bites happen between neighbors or friends. Filing a claim against someone you know might feel awkward, but if your child has been seriously injured by a dog and needs medical care, you shouldn't be burdened by the costs.
I've written an in-depth article on the topic, which you can find here.
What Happens Next?
Also be sure to download my free book "How to Make a Successful Dog Bite Injury Claim In Texas" here.
If your child was seriously hurt by a dog and you'd like to discuss your specific options, don't hesitate to contact the Anderson Law Firm in Fort Worth, Texas at 817-294-1900.