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Pets And Other Household Liability Risks

Ezekiel Elliott, a football player with the Dallas Cowboys, faces a lawsuit after his dogs allegedly attacked a woman cleaning his pool.

According to the allegations, the incident occurred in March as the plaintiff was attempting to clean the pool at Elliott's residence. A spokesperson for the Frisco Police Department said that animal services responded to, and investigated, the incident but did not find probable cause to pursue criminal charges against Elliott.

The plaintiff alleges that the defendant's three dogs bit her "multiple times," which caused "immense pain" and required her to receive care in the emergency room.

The pool cleaner is suing for more than $200,000. She alleges that she continues to experience mental and physical pain as a result of the dog attack. Elliott's attorney denies any negligence. Patrik Walker "Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott sued by pool cleaner after alleged dog attack; his attorney responds" cbssports.com (Jun. 26, 2020).

Commentary

No matter how well-trained or friendly, there is no guarantee that dogs will not attack, if they perceive a threat. The best practice is to keep dogs in a separate area of the home or contained in a crate or kennel if they pose a threat.

There are many other physical hazards in the workplace that can lead to claims of negligence. Just a few examples include: stairways without handrails or with loose parts; electrical components not properly insulated; uneven floors or loose carpets; and children’s toys left out that can be tripped over.

Here are some ways that family employers can reduce their risk of a negligence lawsuit:

·      Make sure the workplace is safe and free of hazards.

·      Task a safety supervisor with checking the work area each day for any unsafe aspects.

·      Make sure staff is thoroughly trained on safe ways of working with chemicals, dangerous equipment, tools or other unavoidable hazards they must be aware of while working.

·      Document all safety training provided to staff.

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