What Are Your Legal Rights if Bitten by a Neighbor’s Dog?

What should you do if you get bitten by a neighbor’s dog?  On the one hand, this neighbor is likely to be someone you have known for a long time and got on well with previously.  On the other hand, however, a dog bite could incur medical costs, and in some situations, permanent injury, and it would be foolish to let it slide by without recouping the costs you have incurred.  With this being such a sensitive issue, it’s wise to know what your legal rights are, and what steps to take should this happen to you.

How Should You React?

How you react after a dog bite will depend on you as a person and the severity of the incident, and there is no right or wrong answer here.  It is, however, wise to ensure the lines of communication with your neighbor are open and honest. You’ll want to inquire with the neighbor as to whether the dog has had tetanus or rabies shots, and whether they are insured. If the neighbor is unwilling to share information with you, it may indicate that there have been similar prior incidents.

Following this, you’ll want to ensure that your injuries can be treated properly and that any medical bills incurred will be paid for by the dog owner, whether that is out of pocket or through their insurance.  Depending on where the bite occurred, the neighbor’s homeowners insurance may pay for the damages, and this can be a good solution that will help to maintain a good relationship.

What if the Neighbor Isn’t Forthcoming?

If your neighbor is unwilling to solve the matter amicably and does not have insurance to cover the costs of any damages, the next step is to file a lawsuit.  You can do this through a personal injury attorney, although one who specializes in dog bite injuries like David R. Heil PA in Orlando is your best option.  They will know your rights, be able to advise you on whether you have a winnable case, and support you through the claims process.

In no way should you be responsible for the actions of another person’s animal, and any dog owner who is unable to prevent their dog from causing injury to a third-party can be held liable for unlawful negligence whether the dog has a history of violence or not.

What Will Happen to the Dog?

After a lawsuit has been filed, you may be wondering about what will happen to the dog who caused the injury.  This is often decided on a case by case basis, with the dog’s previous history being taken into account. An animal control officer will often make the decision while keeping in mind the state laws.

While dog bites are a sensitive issue, especially between neighbors, this doesn’t mean that you should have to pay for the medical costs incurred yourself.  If you are unable to achieve an amicable resolution with your neighbor, it’s best to speak to a dog bite injury attorney to receive the compensation you rightly deserve.