If your neighbor's dog invaded your property and attacked you or one of your pets, you may wish to take the individual to court. But before you take your neighbor to court, you must consult with a personal injury attorney first. The type of personal injury claim you make against your neighbor may depend on several important factors, including these below.
Did Your Neighbor Ignore Your Complaints?
Dog attacks and bites are some of the most common problems known today. Although not all breeds become nuisances, some types of dogs can bite or attack children and adults without cause. In a number of cases, the owners were warned repeatedly about their pets. However, the owners chose to ignore the complaints.
If you did speak candidly to the dog's owner about their pet, and they still allowed the animal to roam freely on your property, write it down on paper. You want to document the:
- Time, date, and day of each interaction you made with the neighbor and/or dog
- Responses of the owner, including any promises the individual made to keep their pet out of your yard
- Names of other neighbors, friends, and family members who witnessed the dog on your property
Keep every note you make in a safe place until you consult a personal injury lawyer.
What Can You Do Legally?
When you meet or speak to an attorney about your neighbor and their pet, be sure to give or fax the lawyer a copy of your notes. The notes can help answer any questions an attorney has about your claim. An attorney may also use the notes as submittable evidence of your claim.
A personal injury attorney may also contact your area's local law enforcement office and animal control center to obtain documents about the owner's dog. If you or other neighbors complained to law enforcement or animal control about the dog in the past, the entities may still have copies of each complaint on file.
Once a lawyer compiles the documentation and other information they need to establish your claim, they may present your case to a personal injury judge. Depending on state and local laws, a judge may require additional information about the dog's history of attacks and bites.
If the court finds the owner liable for your injuries or negligent in keeping their pet properly confined, you may receive compensation for your injuries. An attorney can explain the process for your particular case when you consult them.
If you're concerned about the injuries you received from your neighbor's dog, contact a personal injury attorney soon.