If a dog ran out in front of me and caused me to hit it as well as causing damage to my bumper, who is responsible for the damages?

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If a dog ran out in front of me and caused me to hit it as well as causing damage to my bumper, who is responsible for the damages?

The dog owner’s insurance agent refuses to put in a claim because he says there is no leash law in this town. Trooper at the scene told me they are responsible because the dog is their property. Who is right?

Asked on December 19, 2014 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The issue hinges on whether the dog's owner was negligent, or unreasonably carelessness. If he was not supervising the dog (i.e. allowing it off leash while not paying attention to it), the owner might be viewed as negligent, and hence liable. However, if the owner was trying to control the dog and it just got away from his, he most likely would not be liable, since in that case, he was doing was would reasonably be expected of him. However, if he won't pay voluntarily, you'll have to sue for the money, which may not be cost effective.


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