Legal Question in Personal Injury in North Carolina

Our dog bit a child and we do not currently have renter's insurance. The child's upper lip was bitten badly and needed lots of stitches, and he's been out of school for 3 weeks so far and it will be at least one more week...his mom can't work in the meantime (single parent household). They are probably looking at a future corrective surgery and we have no idea what that would cost but the mother is thinking at least 10k. But it's hard to say right now whether that will be needed or how extensive it would be. We are all more or less on the same page with his mother but trying to come up with an exact agreement that we can get notarized. We have already agreed to pay the ER costs, which are still unknown, and we have set up a GoFundMe for them and shared it in a few places, and so far it's over 6k and still going up every day. Our thought is that we would like to wait until the time comes for another surgery and we will cover whatever amount the GoFundMe money doesn't, up to 10k. The mother's preference differs slightly because she'd like us to just agree to pay 10k even if a future surgery isn't needed or isn't that expensive. What is fair here? She is saying that since she is not asking for pain and suffering and imagines she would have received between 50 to 100k if we had had renter's insurance (the policy we did have until last summer was only a 30 dollar a year policy, so I don't know that they would have paid out that amount), that it is more than reasonable to ask us for 10k right off the bat...maybe she is right, but we wanted to get a professional opinion.

Asked on 1/26/22, 10:23 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amanda Houser The Houser Law Firm, P.C.

Either pay her what she is asking or don't. If you don't, she may sue you but if she does and you do not have any non-exempt assists worth going, after she will end up with a court judgment with about the same worth as used toilet paper and get nothing. There is no garnishment of wages to satisfy a judgment in North Carolina. If you are renting, odds are you do not have any significant assets that are not exempt - you will basically be entitled to the same exemptions you would in bankruptcy. If so, the only reason to pay her anything would be due to some warped sense of 'doing the right thing'.

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Answered on 1/26/22, 12:16 pm

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