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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    12

    Default Dog Bite and Counter Claim in California Small Claims Court

    Hi,

    I was bitten by my neighbor's dog. I contacted an injury lawyer for help. They asked the neighbors for their insurance information. The neighbors said they did not have insurance, even though my Home Owners Association stated they did. The law firm filed a case against the neighbors, hoping they would disclose the insurance information. Unfortunately, the neighbors continued to state they did not have insurance.

    The defendants responded to the summons stating that since I received $60for my medical co-pay and over the counter medication from them, that "it constitutes full satisfaction and resolution of her damage claim, and that this led the defendants to believe her acceptance of the money satisfied and resolved the damage issues."

    The law firm decided it was not feasible to continue to case and asked me to give permission to dismiss it. They then suggested I pursue this matter in small claims.

    I filed a small claims, and now, the defendants has filed a counter claim against me for their legal and filing fees from the case with the law firm. They claimed that they had to seek legal help to respond to my lawyer's claim, which ultimately, lead to the dismissal.

    I never made a statement or sign anything that says the incident has been resolved when I accepted payment for my medical bills. I gave the defendants the receipts for the medical bills, and they reimbursed me.

    Do you think their argument will stand up in court?

    Is their a claim to their case?

    In your opinion, will the judge still grant me a judgement for my injury (pain and suffering, scarring) even though I accepted payment for my medical bills?


    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,094

    Default Re: Small Claims: Dog Bite and Counter Claim in California

    Quote Quoting pennyhoney
    View Post
    Hi,

    I was bitten by my neighbor's dog. I contacted an injury lawyer for help. They asked the neighbors for their insurance information. The neighbors said they did not have insurance, even though my Home Owners Association stated they did. The law firm filed a case against the neighbors, hoping they would disclose the insurance information. Unfortunately, the neighbors continued to state they did not have insurance.

    The defendants responded to the summons stating that since I received $60for my medical co-pay and over the counter medication from them, that "it constitutes full satisfaction and resolution of her damage claim, and that this led the defendants to believe her acceptance of the money satisfied and resolved the damage issues."

    The law firm decided it was not feasible to continue to case and asked me to give permission to dismiss it. They then suggested I pursue this matter in small claims.

    I filed a small claims, and now, the defendants has filed a counter claim against me for their legal and filing fees from the case with the law firm. They claimed that they had to seek legal help to respond to my lawyer's claim, which ultimately, lead to the dismissal.

    I never made a statement or sign anything that says the incident has been resolved when I accepted payment for my medical bills. I gave the defendants the receipts for the medical bills, and they reimbursed me.

    Thanks
    When you filed your case in Small Claims Court, you submitted statements of damages and gave a total amount of what you were seeking. These would be costs other than those that were reimbursed while you were represented by your legal counsel.

    Do you think their argument will stand up in court?
    Difficult to second guess the outcome of any case.

    Is their a claim to their case?
    They filed a statement in response to your claim against them. Not sure what you are asking.

    In your opinion, will the judge still grant me a judgement for my injury (pain and suffering, scarring) even though I accepted payment for my medical bills?
    A counter claim is typical in small claims courts. The judge will review your costs and what they have stated in response and make a decision as to what is fair given costs you have incurred, what they state they have paid you and what they have paid in court costs to resolve your case against them for the dog bite.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Small Claims: Dog Bite and Counter Claim in California

    Hello,

    Thanks for the reply.

    The defendants actually reimbursed my medical bills before I sought representation from the law firm. Does this make a difference at all? I did state I am suing for emotional distress of the scars, and not for medical bills.

    I will also like to be reimbursed for my legal fees too, but I did not list that in my claim. Will it be possible to mention it to the judge at the trial to add legals fees to my claim?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Small Claims: Dog Bite and Counter Claim in California

    Sorry, just one more thing.

    If both the plaintiff and the defendant win the case, and the plaintiff's judgement is higher, will the judgement for the case be: the amount awarded to the Plaintiff's judgement minus the defendant's judgement? Therefore, when the plaintiff walks out of court, she is still the judgement creditor, and doesn't owe the defendant any money?

    Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,094

    Default Re: Small Claims: Dog Bite and Counter Claim in California

    Quote Quoting pennyhoney
    View Post
    Sorry, just one more thing.

    If both the plaintiff and the defendant win the case, and the plaintiff's judgement is higher, will the judgement for the case be: the amount awarded to the Plaintiff's judgement minus the defendant's judgement? Therefore, when the plaintiff walks out of court, she is still the judgement creditor, and doesn't owe the defendant any money?
    You keep asking the same question with embellishments this time- I do not know what you might expect and I suggest you consider contacting scc where you filed and ask them for assistance. It would be best for you to go there and ask for some help in completing the forms, making modifications and what you might be awarded based on the information you submitted.

    If you received medical care following the episode, they were paid. If you have emotional scars, you must provide a $ value to the claim you are making. I have no idea what you are implying-
    I am suing for emotional distress of the scars
    I will also like to be reimbursed for my legal fees too, but I did not list that in my claim. Will it be possible to mention it to the judge at the trial to add legals fees to my claim?
    Do not anticipate that judge/magistrate is going to have pencil, eraser and a calculator and add to or subtract from the amount that you have claimed on the forms that are before him/her when your case is heard. You are required to provide written statements with $ amounts.

    You should Google www.expertlaw.com regarding the small claims court. I think your lawyer already told you that

    it was not feasible to continue to case and asked me to give permission to dismiss it.

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