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?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 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).


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