If I was bitten by a cat at an animal hospital, is the hospital liable for my medical bills?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I was bitten by a cat at an animal hospital, is the hospital liable for my medical bills?

I went to a local animal hospital that also has adoptions. I was looking for a cat. They had one there so they brought it to me in one of their exam rooms. While I was petting her, she reached out and bit the inside of my right arm. It was so deep that it went into the muscle. They ran and got the vet, he had me clean it right away and then told me that I needed to get myself to an urgent care which I did. The doctor there examined me and put me on strong antibiotics. In the meantime, when I woke up this morning with my bite wound was swollen, red and painful, so an infection is starting. I called the urgent care doctor and he stated to let the antibiotics work one more day but that he wanted to see me tomorrow. The animal hospital really did not know much about this cat, except that they have had her for 30 days and she has been tested. It offered to pay my medical after I asked who was going to cover it, plus they called me today to see how I was. If they do not cover the medical bills or I need to have this wound cut open, etc., do I have a claim for personal injury claim against the animal hospital?

Asked on July 30, 2017 under Personal Injury, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It would be difficult to sustain a claim against the animal hospital, because to win, you would have to show that they were at fault in some way in the cat suddently biting you: e.g. that they had in some fashion been unreasonably careless or negligent. Since by what you write, the cat bit you without warning, which animals sometimes do, it is difficult to see what they could have done to prevent it--and so it is difficult to see how you would show that they had been at fault.

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