What t do if my wife was walking our small dog past a neighboring home when their dog ran out into the street and bumped/crashed into her leg?

UPDATED: Apr 21, 2014

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What t do if my wife was walking our small dog past a neighboring home when their dog ran out into the street and bumped/crashed into her leg?

She rolled her foot but thought she was OK. She made it home but then was hit with severe pain when she removed her shoe. We went to the E.R. to get X-rays and her foot is fractured. Is the dog owner responsible for the hospital fees? How do we get the process rolling on this?

Asked on April 21, 2014 under Personal Injury, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If it were negligent, or careless, how the neighbor was controlling, restraining, etc. their dog, they may be liable, or financially responsible, for your out of pocket costs, such as medical expenses not paid by insurance. The issue is their fault--they have to be "at fault" for there to be liability. So if they were letting their dog roam free without restraint, there is a good chance you could hold them liable. On the other hand, if the dog unexpectedly bolted through a partially opened front door, when they were trying to keep it in, or a leash or chain broke without warning, etc., then there most likely would be no liability, since in those case, they did nothing wrong--they were doing what was reasonable to restrain the animal.

As for how you'd go about the process: you could, if you think it would work or that neighborly relations or courtesy demands, initially approach the neighbor and ask them to pay, or at least contribute towards, the bill. If they won't, or if you deem such an approach fruitless or inadvisable, your recourse is to sue them, such as in small claims court, for the money, based on tort (negligence).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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