Dogs are considered man's best friend, but just like humans, dogs can be unpredictable. Every year, more than 4 million people are bitten by dogs. While some in this group are owner bites, unsuspecting neighbors like yourself also fall within this category. If you are the victim of an attack by a neighbor's dog, you do have legal rights that you can rely on.
Investigate Local Laws
Find out what type of laws your state has in place when it comes to dog bites. In some states, the owner is automatically liable for any cost associated with their pet's actions. However, there are other states that practice the one-bite rule.
In these states, unless the animal has previously attacked someone else or the owner had reason to believe the dog may be dangerous, such as an aggressive breed, they are not liable. If you are the pet's first bite, you will have a little bit more work on your hands to ensure the owner covers any expenses you incurred as a result of the attack.
If you reside in a one-bite state, your best route to compensation is going to be proving aggression. Fortunately, the legal system doesn't just rely on the dog's breed in order to measure how aggressive it is. Maybe the dog never bit anyone in the neighborhood before, but their bark is hostile, they growl at every person that passes by, and the dog has even chased children a time or two.
In terms of the law, any dog that has displayed this type of behavior in the past is considered dangerous and the owner should have taken the necessary precautions to prevent an attack. If you can get witnesses to corroborate this information, it's easier to prove your case. In this instance, even if this is the dog's first bite, the owner would likely still be held liable.
Examine Your Role
It's hard to embrace the idea that a victim would be responsible for their own attack, but in the court of law, this can happen. If you played any part in the attack, your claim could be denied. To put this into perspective, consider an aggressive dog.
The owner has taken the necessary precautions, displaying a clear beware of dog sign and securing the dog in a fenced in area. However, the victim decides to antagonize the dog and stick their hand through the fence. If the dog bites, the owner may not be liable for any injuries as the court would perceive the victim to be somewhat responsible for the attack.
Although there are laws in place concerning dog bites, all situations are different. An attorney can help you determine the best course of action. Contact a company like Law Office of Daniel E Goodman, LLC for more information.