Originally Posted by bigp62173
no did not sign anything
Well... then I guess they left the door wide open. Go ahead and walk on in!
As Chas noted they will probably have insurance, which is sounds like you don't.
Below is some free advice, which is probably worth what you paid for it. It might help you.
1) A bit of background about liability law. IN most countries this situation is pretty clear cut. You could theoretically hold them liable because
(a) the dog was in their care
(b) they have a legal duty of care (which you did not waive)
(c) they were negligent in their duty of care which led to your dog getting bitten and
(d) the dog was injured which led ultimately to the financial damages, for which they are legally liable provided you haven't over looked any small print.
These are the 4 elements (in that order) that a lawyer would use to argue the case in a court if need be and/or force a settlement.
2) Obviously the legal option is the worst possible option so normally you would try to negotiate using their insurance to cover the expenses so it didn't escalate into a legal fight. Getting them to pay is something you want and they won't want to do, so they aren't going to give it away for nothing.
Going in you have to consider what you will do if you don't reach an agreement. Will you keep negotiating, will you hire a lawyer, will you suck it up, will you burn a bridge. You need to know what your bottom line is before you start. Don't forget that if you want to keep bringing your dog there then you have something to lose in the negotiation as well so you can't go in with a plan to burn the bridge if you also plan on bringing the dog back.
I negotiate as part of my job so this is actually something I'm quite familiar with so I'll mention next how I would approach a first meeting about it, in main lines.
I would go in smiling and start by asking them to re-run what happened for you. Listen to them. Do...not...interrupt...them except to "mirror".
Mirrors work like this. If they say something you want them to expand on because you think that it could expose their own feeling of being responsible then repeat the last 3 words (or most important 3 words) of their last sentence (just that... nothing more... neutral voice).
For example, suppose they say, "we let the dogs out into the common area and left the room for just a moment"
YOU then say, "left the room..."
This is NOT a question. The inflection of the word "room" is down, like a statement, not "up" like a question ... It's a neutral statement that repeats back what they just said... ... NO BLAME ...only those three words... then WAIT. Once again, it is important to pay attention to the inflection of the word "room" ... down makes it sound like you're trying to understand them.... up can make it sound like blame.
WAIT for them to respond even if the pause is long. Every time you do this, they will give you more information. With these "mirrors" you could potentially set the stage for them to admit being responsible ALL BY THEMSELVES without you ever accusing them of it. If their feeling of guilt is strong enough then they might even offer a solution without you ever asking for one.
If you DO need to ask them for their solution then do so as follows:
When they are all done telling you what happened and there is still no solution on the table then ask this question (specifically THIS question first and foremost, in a NEUTRAL tone of voice)
"Thank you for filling me in. Now, the medical expenses need to be paid. Do you want to end up in a conflict about it?"
(Lead with this question, and then WAIT -- ie. literally shut up and WAIT -- for as long as it takes for them to answer the question. It may take a minute for them to answer because the question could startle them).
.. Eventually they will answer and the answer will be "NO" (which is a GOOD thing in a negotiation, believe it or not). People NEVER want a conflict if they can avoid one so NO is where they will take it and "NO" is where the "solutions" hide in a negotiation. This is the question to get the "NO" that you need.
Then ask the question, "how do you want to proceed?" Exactly that question, again, NEUTRAL tone of voice and once again WAIT until they answer.
With any luck it will end right there and they will mention the insurance option FOR you. You have asked them for their solution and people have a natural tendency to offer one when they feel understood and in control.
They will definitely say SOMETHING but if they still don't mention the insurance option, you can ask the question again buy saying, "anything else?"
You could also try, "what have you done in the past when things like this happen?"
Questions like that will keep pushing them for THEIR solution, which is what you want on the table.
Once it's THEIR idea to mention paying then it makes the job of hammering home the details a lot easier.
Put the other way around, if you go in and say, "please pay" , they will say "NO" and you're done. That's what most people try and that's the reason the world is full of lawyers.
Obviously you can hire someone like a lawyer to do this for you hiring someone to argue the point for you will easily become more expensive than the medical bill so I don't suppose it will be an option. I'm guessing you'll need to do that yourself and since I don't know your background I'm throwing out a couple of ideas that might help you. Again, this advice is worth what you paid for it.
One final note. It might help to practice at home by role playing it with a neighbour or a friend before you meet with the doggie daycare people. Actors practice and believe it or not even the pros practice by role playing