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Dog Incident

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnboy19131, May 12, 2008.

  1. lawnboy19131

    lawnboy19131 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 5

    One of my employees was cutting a fenced in back yard at a customers house when out of the blue a little dog came running at the machine. The employee quickly tried to kill the blades but the dogs paw got cut and required medical care. Am I liable for this or is the homeowner responsible for controlling their domestic animal? The fence had no dog warning signs and when the employee looked in the back yard he did not see any dogs present. Has anyone run into a situation like this before?
  2. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    with lawyers you are always liable. Just hope the customer is cool and they dont suffer any pain or suffering over poof poof little acident.

    I think you may have to pay for the medical bill. Unless they are cool people and understand the accidents happen to the best of people.
  3. lawnboy19131

    lawnboy19131 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 5

    The customer is not very cool. After two days of trying to get in touch with them we finally did. Then he tried to accuse us of hiding the incident even though we left messages on his cell phone and knocked on the door after the incident occurred. I am not sure if he was intoxicated when I talked to him but he was completely irrational. He said he would have rather we run over a human then his dog.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653


    Just from the sound of your first post it came off as if you didn't care.
    You see, it may be an animal but dogs become like family members to most folks.
    We likely shouldn't get attached to animals like that, but more often than not with pets and dogs, we do.

    It's not that your worker didn't try to avoid it but from where I stand, if afterwards the main concern is "omg am I liable?"
    As in "do I have to PAY for this?"...
    That's just not going over real well, this much I can see.

    That's likely the problem, not so much who pays for it...
    But apparent concern, or lack of it, yes, for the well being of the pooch.

    You might can come up with some sort of an apology but I think it's as likely too late in this case.
    Not to tell you what to do, I think you'll likely lose the customer over it, not sure, and I might be surprised yet...
    But this is one I would think about for some time to come, nothing to lose major sleep over every night, but certainly something that would have an effect on how I do business somewhere in the future.
  5. KGR landscapeing

    KGR landscapeing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    get a lawer just to protect yourself alot of people have no pet insuance so the cost for any medical bills comes out of there pocket. if its a good customer one thats been with you for years then help pay the bill. If its a pain in butt that you could do with out. fight them tooth and nail.
  6. lawnboy19131

    lawnboy19131 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 5

    Its not that I wouldn't have paid the bills but the guy was a complete jerk when I talked to him. When someone treats me like that I am not willing to work with them to resolve the issue.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    All right...
    I mean, right after it happened, I can't quite see you calling 911 over it...
    But did you notify the customer immediately?
    In other words, did the dog receive immediate attention?

    It's almost to the point where you could've put the pooch in your truck and drove him / her / it to an emergency vet.
    Maybe not but that's what I was getting at is the concern, over the animal's well being.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    btw... I've ran over animals before, too.
    There is, sometimes, nothing we can do.
    And we might have prevented it, and failed to do so.
    But we have a job to do and ultimately it isn't our responsibility either, no.

    And to drop everything, then in the nick of time we should've been someplace else and now lose unrelated customers as they figure us a "no show" so they call someone else... Allowing this to interfere with business, there's no right answer here.

    But say your significant other had an emergency, wouldn't you be willing to forfeit just about your whole business over this?
    It's kind of like that with someone's pet, even if it's not yours.

    Now if after all that they still want to act stupid, why when you've done what you could then it's kind of tough luck I say, but...

    As for liability...?
    They might sue but I doubt it.
    I think it's more over the pain of loss, suffering, that...
  9. kleankutslawn

    kleankutslawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,185

    well is the dog ok now?
  10. lawnboy19131

    lawnboy19131 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 5

    The dog is recovering. It's pad had been torn a bit and needed to be stitched back and I believe it lost a claw or two.

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