What can I do if while walking my dogs on leashes, a motorcycle ran a stop sign and startled my dogs and 1 of them got loose and caused the driver to crash?

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What can I do if while walking my dogs on leashes, a motorcycle ran a stop sign and startled my dogs and 1 of them got loose and caused the driver to crash?

One of the dogs got off the leash, and the motorcycle swerved to avoid it. It caused some damage to the motorcycle, when the rider lost control. I asked if the rider was injured, he said no but that his motorcycle was damaged. He looked over his motorcycle, said there was damage, but did not show me. He then proceeded to yell and become hostile, before saying I was going to pay for damages, and that he would look the motorcycle over more later. He did not call the police, did not ask for my name, insurance information, phone number or anything. He then left. I am worried that he will come back later, claiming more damage than occurred.

Asked on August 4, 2015 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is possible that he will either ask for money from you or else even sue you, such as in small claims court. If he does, though, that does not mean you have to pay him: you would only have to pay you if he sues you and wins, and to win, he'd have to prove that you were negligent, or unreasonably careless, in how you controlled your dogs and that is what caused the accident; and he'd also have to show that he was not at the same time negligent, or driving carelessly, and that caused or contributed to the accident. If your dogs were on leashes and only escaped because startled by him, and he was running a stop sign, which is careless, it is unlikely he could show these things. And even if he could win, he can only recover the amount of damages, or compensation, that he can prove were caused by the accident: he simply cannot claim any number he feels like, but needs evidence, like repair invoices, to prove it.


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