Hello Everyone! I'm new here and need some encouraging support.
Almost two years ago an incident occured in which a child was bitten by a dog. In summary, a friend was visiting my house (a rental property) along with his children and dog, a beagle. We were grilling out in the back yard where the dog was securely tied. The next-door neighbor's grandson came into my yard on his bicycle riding circles around the dog. I asked him to stop and return to his yard and to come back another time when I didn't have company. He left and returned again, this time on foot, running circles around the dog and slapping at the dog's ears. Once again, I asked him to stop and return to his own yard. He returned again, this time, pulling on the dog's ears and cheeks and screaming in his face. Getting too close, he stepped on the dog's paw. The dog reacted by biting him in the cheek. All this time, the father of the boy sat right there and did NOTHING to stop the boy or keep him in his own yard.
Concerned for the boy, I told the grandmother (my neighbor) that I'd help with the medical bill. She said "Oh, don't worry about that!" (Yeah, right!)
Five months later, I'm served with a $50,000 lawsuit from the boy's mother (who was not present). The dog is not mine and I was not responsible for the dog. Nor was I responsible for the boy. The dog's owner was eventually added to the lawsuit and has gotten his homeowner's insurance involved. However, I'm receiving the brunt of the lawsuit. Because I was a renter, there is no insurance to cover any of my lawyer's fees (which now exceeds $5,000). The dog's owner hasn't had to pay a dime and can't understand why I'm upset.
My lawyer tried getting a dismissal for me, but it was denied. Now I've been court-ordered to attend a mediation. Even though both my name and the dog owner's name are on the lawsuit, he is not expected to be at this mediation. WHY NOT?! I have to use vacation time to attend this mediation, and he's not required to appear. Again, WHY NOT? His name is on the lawsuit right next to mine. In all rights, HE should be paying my lawyer bill as it was HIS dog.
Almost two years later, I've seen the boy and you can't even tell he'd been bitten. There is virtually NO scar.
Has anyone heard of such a case and how they turn out? I've been told that judges are cracking down on such cases, but it keeps getting dragged on and on. Not only can I NOT afford my lawyer's fees, but I'm terrified of the outcome. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.
Any input, suggestions, advice, or guidance would be a blessing.
Thank you for listening!