Can my neighbors sue me if my dog bit their child? - Accident Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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Can my neighbors sue me if my dog bit their child?

My kids and the neighbors kid were playing in my yard. I didn't know he was out there, but he's scared of the dog. I was getting ready to walk my dog, so I put on the leash. When I walked out, I yelled "Snowballs Coming " and walked out. I have an american eskimo, which is a watchdog. She is a lovely dog, but hates fighting. The neighbors kid pushed my kid, and the dog charged and bit him. I pulled her away right after. It left a small bruise(no bleeding) and a couple teeth marks. Now, they want to sue. I told them I'd pay the hospital bills, but they still want to sue. Will I lose this case?

Answer By James P Kelaher
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
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Under Florida law, a dog owner is strictly liable if the owner's dog bites another person. The only defense to that case is if they have a "Bad Dog" sign posted or if the person provoked the dog. If the kid pushed your dog, that certainly could be raised as a defense to the claim, as that could be provoking the dog. Just call your homeowner's insurance company and report the claim to them and let them worry about it.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/22/2012

Answer By Ronald Anderson
Howes & Anderson, P.C.
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Dog owners in Iowa are usually strictly liable for damages that their dogs do. Therefore your neighbor likely could bring a claim for damages as a result of your dog's actions. If you have insurance you should turn this matter over to your insurance company.

Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 3/22/2012

Answer By Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman
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We have have the "one free bite" rule in Nee York. You're not liable unless you knew or should have k own that your dog had vicious propensities.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 3/22/2012

Law Office of A. R. Appel
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I don't know enough about your case to answer whether your neighbor will sue you but I do know this if you are served with a lawsuit, find the nearest telephone and call your homeowner's insurance they will ask that you send them a copy of the papers (you keep a copy too) someone from your insurance company will either call you or come by and talk with you and under your homeowner's insurance, they have to provide you with a defense including a lawyer. Remember this anyone can sue, it does not mean that they will win but it sure is inconvenient if you are on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Do what I said and then cooperate with the lawyer assigned by the insurance company. You've been more than appropriate you offered to pay the medical bills if there were any, and I assume that you have told your child's friend's parents that you are sorry this happened. They should be really happy that nothing more happened. Now for a word to the wise you own a watchdog. Take yourself and your dog to a really good trainer if you are in the Ft. Lauderdale area, there is a place called the ABCs of dog training. They train watchdogs. The trainer (John) will work with you and your dog to bring the dog under somewhat better control. There should be some secret phrase which, when Snowball is on a leash, tells Snowball to go for it and Snowball should never attack unless you say that phrase or the person holding the leash is attacked. Everyone was lucky this time no one got seriously hurt and you were there to pull Snowball off. Unfortunately, next time you may not be so lucky. If you love your dog, and care about yourself and your family, go find that trainer.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/22/2012

Answer By Dean Esposito

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You are responsible for the actions of your animals. The parents will sue you on behalf of their minor child for the medical bills and personal injuries sustained, if any.

Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 3/21/2012

The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
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Maybe but if you did it would not be for much.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2012

Answer By Dan Pingelton

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Your homeowners insurance will probably cover it.

Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 3/21/2012

Klisz Law Office, PLLC
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Yes, you will. The dog bite statute is strict liability except for provcation. Just turn it over to your homeowners insurance and they will defend and settle the case for you. If you don't have homeowners, you will need an attorney.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/21/2012

Answer By David Francis
David Francis Law
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The short answer is yes, the neighbors can sue. Like any personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that the dog owner 1) had a duty to keep the dog under control, 2) that the owner failed to keep the dog under control, 3) that the dog, and the owner's failure to control the dog, was the cause of the plaintiff's injury, and 4) that the injury resulted in damages (usually in the way of medical expenses, scarring, fear, anxiety, pain and suffering, etc). Also, it appears that the owner knew (as in: had prior notice of) the dog's propensity to attack if it saw an altercation of any kind. This will work against the dog owner. Hopefully, the dog owner has Homeowner's Insurance, or if a renter, the landlord has Insurance. If so, and unless the policy specifically excludes coverage for dog bites, the insurance carrier should provide an attorney to defend the dog owner in the event he/she is sued. Dog bites that produce scars on children generally prove to be valuable cases in terms of settlement agreements. The dog owner should talk to his/her Insurance company and consult the Homeowner's policy.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 3/21/2012

Answer By Bernard Huff
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
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Yes, your neighbor can if you were negligent in not having your dog on a leash when the neighbor's kid was on your premises. You should consult with an attorney who handles dog bite cases.

Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 3/21/2012

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