If I was accidentally injured while at an animal shelter to look for my dog, can I sue?

UPDATED: Sep 17, 2014

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 17, 2014Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I was accidentally injured while at an animal shelter to look for my dog, can I sue?

This morning I went to the Animal Shelter to look for my dog. As I was walking through the room where the dogs are, one of them jumped up and pushed the kennel door and caused it to open. You would think that it would be impossible to open from inside, but caused it to fly open as I was walking by. It hit me really hard on my left shoulder. I went out and told the lady at the front desk but she didn’t seem to care much. My arm is really hurting now; it’s sore, tense and hurting more while I am doing my job. Do I have a case? I did file a report at the shelter.

Asked on September 17, 2014 under Personal Injury, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, if  there is no significant physical damage--e.g. no broken bone, damaged cartilege, serious sprain--there's no point in even thinking about suing. A lawsuit only provides you compensation for actual costs or losses, or, for serious injuries that cause demonstrable life impairment for weeks or months, some amount (often modest, unless there is permanent or quite-long-lasting injury) of "pain and suffering." So say that you do not go to a doctor or have medical costs and only experience some pain for a week or two--you would get nothing or next to nothing from a lawsuit, even if you won.

Second, even if you had a serious injury, it's not a given that the shelter would be liable--they may be; it's just not a given. For liability, there must have been fault, such as negligence, or unreasonable carelessness; for example, that they did not properly secure the cage door. On the other hand, if there was no negligence--they latched the door properly, but it was a fluke that the dog knocked it open--they would not be liable.

From what you write, there is a reasonable chance of liability--it's likely they did not properly secure the cage in one way or another--but it's not a given, so there's a chance of losing if you sued; and more importantly, even if you sued and won, for the amount of injury you describe right now, you might not be able to recover any money, and if you did recover something, it might not even offset the cost of the lawsuit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption