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Ever been SUED as a groomer?

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  • Ever been SUED as a groomer?

    I am curious to know if anyone (as a groomer and business owner), has EVER been sued, and for how much?

    My husband is the one actually asking the question. Anything over $5,000???

    Tammy in Utah
    Groomers Helper Affiliate

  • #2
    Wouldn't liability insurance cover something grooming related? I never really understood how everything goes together! If I did something to cause an animal's death, most courts would award cost of animal, plus maybe vet fees. I'm under the impression that my Gibson/Governor would cover that. If a client hurt themselves at my place of business, insurance would cover that as well. I wonder if there's something I'm not taking into consideration.

    Stephen: There are SEVERAL types of "liability" insurance. There's fire, earthquake, accidents where customer falls, even falls in their driveway and hits their head on your van. "Professional" liability covers the act of your grooming, read all exclusions though. This is where groomers in my years of consulting get confused. "I have liability insurance" but they didn't do a checklist and find out that professional liability is an add-on and what is great about Governor Insurance is they understand this and almost always note professional liability as a separate line, an fleeing pet as a separate coverage. So many groomers go to something like Allstate or State Farm and get business insurance, and many other names, and nope, they do not have true professional liability and fleeing pet coverage. Been there, seen this dozens of times and yet these groomers say, yes I have it, yes I have it. Read the policies, ASK by saying specific questions like, a customer opens the door and the pet flees, do I have coverage. If a pet jumps off my table and dies, am I covered. Most agents with no real pet specialty insurance give you some fuzzy looks when posed with these questions. Using a specialist really helps.

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    • #3
      Yes, about 10 years ago. A lab CHow mix came in for a shavedown. My groomer shaved him after arguing with the owner about it. Did it with a 7F, bathed and force dried, sat under a fan dryer to finish drying. Onber went to the vet from our shop. Vet noted, "skin looks good, no fleas or sores". That sticks with me to this day. Gave him a fullset of shots. Three days later, dog is lethargic and has a weepy sore at the injection site, and the original diagnosis is Vaccine site abcess. Fast forward a week and the spot is huge, weepy, sloughing off, surgery required and one person at the vet clinic treating him, says, "Gee this looks like a burn" and I get served with papaers saying we caused a thermal burn oin this dog. His vet bills were in excess of $4000. The vet actually said in the court romm (small claims court) "Debi, NO ONE said you did this" to which I replied "THEN WHY ARE WE HERE?"

      The case was dismissed and he was ordered to notify anyone and everyone he had told we did it that we were not reposnsible. He even had to take an ad out in the paper at his expense saying we were not responsible. The judge chided him harshly for ignoring the actual diagnosis and spreading gossip. If I knew then what I know now I would have countersued.

      I have been threatened twice since but nothing ever came of it.
      <a href="http://www.groomwise.typepad.com/grooming_smarter" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

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      • #4
        Thank you, and keep 'em coming, I can only learn from you.

        Tammy in Utah
        Groomers Helper Affiliate

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        • #5
          Tam, I doubt too many groomers here would admit that they were sued and at fault. The only outcomes you will see here will be the ones with a positive outcome like Parti.
          Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.- Richard Carlson

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          • #6
            Stacy, VERY good point! Perhaps anyone willing to share could do so privately and Tammy could promise to keep it confidential...Just a suggestion : ) I have never been sued, I have never even had a client upset with me for an accident. I will admit openly that I have cut both dogs and cats accidentally, but none were more than superficial cuts and they all healed up without a problem. It has been a long time since I last cut a dog, but BELIEVE me, there have been several close calls and I feel so much better having very good insurance, though spendy. Jerking, jumpy, licky dogs around sharp tools and close calls has helped me slow down and be extra careful. Having said that, a few of those cuts were MY fault. The pets were behaving perfectly well, I just got my thinners going a little too fast a little too close to a toe, etc., or used a full size clipper on ears and caught that little flap of skin on the edge. Lesson: learned to slow down and got some great trimmers that I can't imagine working without...sorry rambling.

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            • #7
              Stacie, I agree, but we are not looking for only bad outcomes, just generally, how many people have actually been sued. If it's a common thing or not, that kind of thing.

              Feel free to PM me anybody out there wanting to mention it.

              Thanks!

              Tammy in Utah
              Groomers Helper Affiliate

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              • #8
                Oh so very long ago

                I had a woman drop off her little dog at my grooming shop. Her daughter picked up my token pet kitty. I cautioned but the Mom said she's good with kitties, that they had some. This kitty was very very nice. But the little girl squeezed and the cat trying to get away pushed and nicked the childs neck. The woman started carrying on about how now she couldn't go to work etc. A couple of days later we got call from her lawyer who says he's handled many of her cases. I demanded to see the little girls injuries, knowing it was a tiny nick, which Mom now was threatening to need plastic surgery. I saw the little girl and she had deep wounds. How? Did the Mom do it? Scary. My insurance company took on her lawyer and you know I never did hear the outcome.

                But I make sure in business to have insurance thanks to that woman.
                Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

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                • #9
                  Wow, Arrooh. Wow. Some people amaze me. I bet she did do something to her daughter, that is SICK!

                  The red flag to me (after the fact) was the lawyer saying he's handled "many of her cases." WOW, I've never had to have a lawyer handle ONE case for me, let alone, "many."

                  Tammy in Utah
                  Groomers Helper Affiliate

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                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=SpikeyTheYorkie;390925]Wow, Arrooh. Wow. Some people amaze me. I bet she did do something to her daughter, that is SICK!

                    The red flag to me (after the fact) was the lawyer saying he's handled "many of her cases." WOW, I've never had to have a lawyer handle ONE case for me, let alone, "many."


                    I agree, sick people and BIG RED flag!!!!!! The thought of ever suing anyone or being sued makes me sick to my stomach. I just can't understand people who seem to make this a way of life. I guess they are the same kind of people who spend all of their time energy scamming for "freebies" instead of getting a job and making a living......but thats a whole different subject.....lol

                    Only 1x have I ever been threatened w/a lawsuit, this was about 10 yrs ago. It was the owner of a Golden Retriever. Her husband brought the dog in and told us to shave him down. My groomer at the time clipped him w/a 5 (length was thoroughly discussed). The dog did have rashy looking skin in places which we informed the owner of when he came for pick up.

                    A few days later I get a call from a screaming, raving woman saying that "the vet said" we gave her dog a skin disease and that her daughter has CP and compromised immune system and that I better pray that she doesn't get anything from the dog cause she is going to "take me down".

                    In the course of several phone calls over several days, which I am ashamed to admit I got to the point of screaming back, she said when she took us to court she was also going to make us pay for shaving her dog w/out her permission, for using perfume on the dog when it could make daughter sick (never told about sick daughter and husband filled out card and didn't check to not use scents or hypo), for all the vet bills and for her "mental anguish and suffering" and for any medical bills her daughter has. She kept calling me "girl friend" in this really condesending tone when she wasn't screaming at me. I think that made me madder than all the screaming insults and threats.

                    I spoke w/the vet (who referrs to me regularly) and he told me that he NEVER told her I gave the dog a skin disease. He said that he told them the dog already had a skin issue that the grooming may have irritated but certainly didn't cause, but it also reveled the problem early so that it could be treated before it got to bad.

                    Next time I spoke to this woman I told her what the vet told me, I mentioned the grooming insturuction card that her husband filled out, dated and signed as well as my General Info sheet that has a waiver that he signed and dated. I never heard from her again......sheesh.....my heart is beating faster remembering this. I don't think I have EVER been as stressed from a client......actually, I know I havent....lol

                    My business has $million liability per my rental agreement because I am in a pretty hazardous spot on the highway and I "think" an additional $10,000 for vet bills (have to check my policy on the amount as my brain doesn't hold this type of info very long...lol) My homeowners and auto are all w/the same company, so I pay a little extra to have an umbrella policy that will kick in if needed (pray God it's never needed!).
                    SheilaB from SC

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                    • #11
                      I just want to comment---I am so proud to be surrounded (online) by all of you smart cookies. Your insurance has been your saving grace is some cases, your forms that you've had clients sign, etc. GOOD JOB FOLKS!

                      Tammy
                      Groomers Helper Affiliate

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