Q: Can someone still take me to small claims court after a notarized general release form was signed?
My dog was attacking another dog at a dog park and the owner got bit in the process. A police report was filed. An ambulance came and took her to the ER. She got the ER bill. I paid for it and we signed a general release form specifying the amount that was to be paid (the ER bill). It was notarized. Now she has a bill from the ambulance. She has threatened to take me to small claims court. Can I still be held liable/can she still sue me, and what are the chances of me winning? In NY. Thank you in advance.
A: Anyone can sue anyone if they pay the fee. Thus, the question is do you have a defense. It depends on what the form says. Assuming it is a true general release form, you should have a complete defense.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
A: It could depend on the wording of the release. Many standard releases contain terms to the effect... "in consideration of a certain sum of money, claimant agrees to release the other party from all claims, present and future, known and unknown, etc... "
If the release is written loosely, it could be a judge's call, whether they felt it would be reasonably foreseeable for a bill from the ambulance to materialize under the circumstances. Good luck
A: It can cut both ways. If you have a good release form executed, you should be able to use it to fight the additional demand for the expenses. On the other hand, if the terms and conditions are too "loose," then you may need to fight all the way. Since it's already indicated that the venue will be a small claims court, the amount involved is limited and won't probably be life threatening. So it may be worth defending and fighting as much as you can.
Getting a judgment in a small court by a non-lawyer does NOT mean s/he will be automatically handed a sum of money by the judge if s/he wont the case. The claimant MUST collect or "enforce" the judgement in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations to get the money sought for.
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