If you’re walking a dog on a leash but someone comes up and startles it so the dog nips them, who is at fault?

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If you’re walking a dog on a leash but someone comes up and startles it so the dog nips them, who is at fault?

The dog walker or the other guy?

Asked on April 28, 2015 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The dog walker is not at fault unless the dog was known to be viscious or a biter, in which case a failure to take a reasonable precaution like muzzling it may be negligent, or unreasonably careless. But if there is no reason to be on guard or warning about the dog, there would be no negligence.

The other guy may be at fault if he startled the dog dog deliberately (e.g. yelling at it or gesturing at it sharply on person) or unreasonably carelessly (like not paying attention to where he is walking and stepping on� a paw).

It is also possible no one was at fault, in that no one either intentionally did anything wrong or was unreasonably careless--not all injuries involve fault.


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