Can I sue my neighbor for personal injury? 51 Answers as of July 04, 2013

My son was chased down the stree and bitten by a rottweiler that broke free of his chain while tied up around a tree brach in the front yard, can I sue ? The dog owner told his insurance agent that my son was trespassing, will the agent want my story of what happend?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
David B. Sacks, P.A.
David B. Sacks, P.A. | David Sacks
The short answer is yes. It does not matter if your son was trespassing for reasons that are far to complicated to go into in this email.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/22/2011
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
Absolutely, but I would not give any statements without talking to an attorney first. The important thing to know is that different rules apply in cases involving dogs, and many areas have ordinances that treat Rotts as inherently dangerous. That is very, very good news for your case. It means that a court may assume (rather than make you prove) that the Defendant was negligent. The insurance company knows that and will be trying to trip you up. Before doing anything else, I would talk to a few attorneys. You should feel free to contact my office. My staff can even patch you through to my cell phone if I am in court.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 7/22/2011
Timothy Jones, Attorney at Law
Timothy Jones, Attorney at Law | Timothy Jones
The answer is yes. The strength of the claim will depend upon the facts. For example, was the dog provoked? Has the dog attacked anyone previously? The agent may or may not want your statement. If your statement is requested, I suggest you seek the advice of an attorney before giving it.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/22/2011
Wilson & Hajek, LLC
Wilson & Hajek, LLC | Eddie W. Wilson
The answer is PROBABLY yes based on the minimum facts you furnished.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 7/21/2011
Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
It is quite common that there are two different "versions" of what happened. The insurance company may want to believe its insured simply because it is always preferable for insurance companies not to need to pay. The best thing you can do is talk to a lawyer right away. He or she will be able to communicate with the insurance company for you, and ensure that you preserve all of your rights. If the dog was not properly secured, you probably have a claim for your son's injuries.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/20/2012
    David Hoines Law
    David Hoines Law | David Hoines
    you need a lawyer, as the insurance company will most likely reject the claim
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Office of William Justice Whitaker
    Law Office of William Justice Whitaker | William J. Whitaker
    Virginia uses the arcane 'One Bite Rule" when dealing with dog bites. To sum this rule up, it states that if a dog has never bitten someone before and does not have a propensity for aggressive then the owner cannot be held liable even if the dog was to attack and kill someone as the owner gets "one free bite" before any liable is imposed on them. However, the flip side to this rule is that if the dog has bitten someone before or has a history of aggressive behavior then the owner is "strictly liable" (which means 100% liable) for any damage the dog causes. There are other variables that can come into play in a dog bite case such as local leash laws and claiming the dog's owner was negligent for a various reasons.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Can YOU sue? Maybe. Can your son sue? yes. If your son is a minor, you can institute proceedings, with the court's permission, as his guardian ad litem. YOU can sue IF you observed this event. Hire a personal injury attorney. Consultations are free and no fees unless, usually, there is a recovery.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    The owner of an animal known to be viscious is legally liable for damages caused by that animal. To prove that the animal was known to be viscious, you need evidence that it attacked or threatened someone before this incident. The dog owner's claim representative should get a statement from you and your son, if he is doing his job. If he contacts you, co-operate, but tell him you won't give a statement unless you have an opportunity to read it and sign it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Yes you can sue. The insurance adjuster will want your story of what happened.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 7/21/2011
    Law Offices of Earl K. Straight
    Law Offices of Earl K. Straight | Earl K. Straight
    The agent should get your side of the story, but if it comes down to a swearing match, the agent will usually go with his own insureds version of events. If you can find a neighbor or other independent witness who saw the whole thing it would bolster your claim. You can also check with the local city or county animal control department to find out if this particular dog has ever bitten anyone previously.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. You can sue. In New York we have the "one free bite" rule which states that an owner is only responsible if he knew or should have known that the dog had vicious propensities. Did he ever bite before? Does he constantly tug at his leash to lash out at people who pass by, etc.? The next question is whether the owner should have known that the dog was not properly secured. Was the leash old? Had the dog gotten free in the past, etc.? Last, is whether or not your Son bears some of the responsibility for the attack. New York is very strict about what constitutes provoking a dog such that the person bitten can be held fully or partially responsible. I forget the exact language, but it is something like "the person attacked deliberately put themselves in harm's way and provoked the attack". Again, that's just my best recollection. All this can be researched by your lawyer. Yes, of course you're going to have to give your side of the story. But you shouldn't say anything until after you've spoken to a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    Yes, the agent will want your story. I do not have enough facts to tell you if there is a claim. If the dog had bitten before you may have a claim.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    Yes you can sue for personal injury. You should not concern yourself with what the owner's insurance agent cares about. First, you need to ask yourself if you really want to sue. Was your son's injuries severe? Is there lasting physical and/or mental pain. I have been bitten by dogs several times, however I was an adult when it happened. It depends on how old you son is. You should consider having him see a therapist to see if he is developing an adverse reaction to dogs in general, which would be very unfortunate. Suing anyone will be time consuming and mentally distracting. Suing a neighbor will irretrievably ruin your relationship with your neighbor, assuming it was civil before. Even if it was not good, your neighbor will become impossible to deal with afterwards. Second, it is not what happened that matters, it is what you can prove happened that matters. If there were no witnesses, proving that your son was not on your neighbor's property might be difficult. It becomes a "liars contest." Personally, I would give your son the advantage over a dog that cannot testify, but if you son is young and impressionable, you will have difficulty getting his testimony admitted and he will be easy to break down on cross examination. So to conclude, yes you can sue, your chances are pretty decent, but do you want to subject your son to that. Think carefully about it.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    You can if the neighbor was negligent. Contact and/or consult with a personal injury lawyer in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm
    Wilson & Hajek,LLC, a personal injury law firm | Francis Hajek
    You may have a personal injury claim under Virginia law. To analyze the potential for success and the whether the claim is viable, I would need more facts.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Not enough information here. How old was your child? Was he antagonizing the dog? Was your child trespassing? Did the dog have a vicious disposition? (has the dog bitten before, or attempted to?) what are your bills and what are the injuries?
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A.
    Ramunno & Ramunno, P.A. | Lawrence A. Ramunno
    The insurance adjuster, not the agent, may be asking for statements, but you should have an attorney before giving a statement.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes you can sue for your son, but trespassing is an issue. Otherwise, dog bites are strict liability and are very good cases. Dealing directly with an adjuster will just waste your time. They will lo-ball you or offer nothing. An attorney involved is a must.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    You can sue your neighbor for his dog biting your son. From your account here, the dog was not properly tied up and that is the owner's negligence. I hope that your son is ok. That must have been terrifying for the poor boy.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    You can most certainly make a claim against your neighbor under his homeowner's insurance policy. Obviously, he knew of his dog's dangerous propensities, otherwise why would he have had his dog chained up? In Florida, we have strict liability for dog bites, and your neighbor was negligent for failing to have his dog properly chained up.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    West law Office
    West law Office | Russell West
    Most state laws would allow you to sue. Dog bite laws can be very strict and the owner is responsible. If there was No Trespassing posted it could raise some other issues but this does not sound like the case. The insurance company should set up a claim and make a settlement.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    The answer lies in the applicable statute: Civil Code 3342: (a) The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner. You did not describe the circumstances of how or why your son was on the neighbors property. If he was lawfully there, the owner is liable for the injuries.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Yes. Your neighbor is liable. Get an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    You may have a case, based upon the information that you have supplied.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/26/2013
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    If someone has been biten by a dog, one may sue the owner if there was notice that the dog had a dangerous propensity and had other incidents where the dog bit someone. You should definately contact a lawyer to discuss the circumstances of the incident.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    Either way the home owner would be liable for the injuries caused by his dog. There are certain defenses which the insurance company will attempt to prevent but there is a potential case here.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Tomalas Law Firm
    Tomalas Law Firm | Ryan Tomalas
    It is possible your son (or you on your son's behalf) may have a very good claim/case to pursue against the owner of the dog. In California dog owners are held Strictly Liable for the injuries caused by their dogs. Meaning that the owner of the dog is responsible for your son's injuries no matter what caused the dog to bite; the fact they your son might have been trespassing is not likely to pose much of an issue. Generally, a dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy (assuming they have one) extends to cover these types of situations. Dog bite cases can be quite complex, especially in light of the emotional/psychological aspect of dog bites and the potential for long term/permanent scaring. Please keep in mind that the "value" of your sons' case is not limited to the medical bills which have been or will be incurred, but rather will take into account the numerous ways this incident may impact your son's life (including the possible existence of a permanent scar). We have handled hundreds of dog bite cases and are extremely experienced in this area of the law.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer
    Harris Personal Injury Lawyer | Philip C. Alexander
    Yes, based on this scenario you could sue your neighbor for personal injury. Your neighbor's insurance agent will contact you and take a recorded statement, or request a recorded statement from your son. You should immediately contact an attorney for assistance prior to any contact with the insurance company, as the agent/insurance company does not have your son's best interests in mind.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    there will be an investigation and there is strict liability as so long as the person was not trespassing or teasing tormenting or abusing the dog.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Law Offices of Daniel R. Wingler, P.C.
    Law Offices of Daniel R. Wingler, P.C. | Daniel R. Wingler
    You can, and should, sue your neighbor. Even if your son was trespassing, he should not have been in danger of being bitten once he left the property. Dog bites are treated as strict liability, meaning: you don't have to prove that the neighbor was negligent, just that it was his dog that bit your son. Don't accept a denial or an offer of settlement from the insurance company without consulting with an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    Yes you can and yes the insurance rep will want your story. If the dog broke loose, that will be hard to defend.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Elizabeth Beason Moore
    Yes you can sue for that. Do you know if the dog had bitten anyone before?
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    You can sue. The dog owner is absolutely liable for the dog bite, no matter where your son was located when he was bitten.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    You have a case. The law in Oregon is: To recover economic damages (medical expenses, wage loss, etc.), the plaintiff must prove the following by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) The defendant was the possessor of the dog; and (2) The defendant failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from harming the plaintiff. To recover noneconomic damages (pain and suffering), the plaintiff must prove elements (1) and (2), and: (3) The defendant knew or should have known that the dog would cause the injury if the defendant did not control or confine the dog.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
    Yes you can sue on your son's behalf and yes the insurance adjuster will want your sons and your side of the story. I would suggest that you get an attorney to help you with you case prior to making any statement to the insurance adjuster. They will definitely record the statement and they will use it against you or your son if you later change part of your story. I good personal injury attorney should be able to tell you whether your case is worth pursuing based on all of the facts of your case. Whether your son was trespassing could turn out to be very important to the case, depending on your son's age, prior disagreements with your neighbor, the law in your state for dog bite cases etc.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    The Kelly Law Firm, P.C.
    The Kelly Law Firm, P.C. | L. Todd Kelly
    If your son was injured, he may well have a claim.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    Yes, your son does have a claim against the neighbor. It can be negatively impacted if he was trespassing. You don't mention whether he was or not. The agent will want the "story" from anyone who was there and observed the event.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Premier Law Group
    Premier Law Group | Jason Epstein
    Yes, you can sue your neighbor for the dog bite. Given the disputed facts, it is probably a very good idea to get an attorney involved sooner, rather than later.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    In Utah, the owner or keeper of a dog is strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog. You have a case against your neighbor for your son's injuries. You should find an attorney to help with this, because there is an issue of whether your son provoked the dog.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/20/2011
    Holzer Edwards
    Holzer Edwards | Kurt Holzer
    It does sound like there is likely liability on behalf of the dog owner. If the dog escaped the property then whether or not you son trespassed shouldnt matter. Your son has a claim for the losses imposed by his injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/20/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney