BIT BY NEIGHBOR’S DOG SHOULD I SUE? MN LAWYERS
Our attorneys handle many dog bite cases in Minnesota every year. Unfortunately, many of those cases involve a dog that bites a neighbor. Sometimes the dog bite or dog attack occurs when a neighbor comes to visit, either in the house or in the yard. In many instances, however, the dog runs into the street to bite a neighbor or the incident happens at a nearby park. Whether or not you should sue your neighbor because their dog bit you depends on several considerations – mostly how serious the injury is.
No one wants to be in a dispute with their neighbor. The dog owner usually feels very bad and responsible for their dog having bitten or attacked or injured a neighbor. Likewise, the neighbor often does not want to cause trouble for the dog owner. What both parties need to understand is that in most cases the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance will cover the injuries from the dog bite and provide full compensation to the injured person without anybody suing anyone. This is good for both parties because the dog owner usually feels responsible (in addition to being legally responsible) and wants to compensate the person their dog bit – especially if it is a neighbor, friend or family member who has medical bills because of the incident. Of course the neighbor who was bit by the dog benefits from the homeowners coverage as well, because then they are not out of pocket because of the incident and can also be compensated for future needs and harms. These cases rarely require anyone to sue the dog owner because Minnesota law is strict in holding the owner responsible and the homeowners insurance can usually be persuaded by the attorney to make a fair settlement.
Yes, the neighbor who owns the dog may have their insurance rates go up somewhat because of a dog bite claim, but it is not going to be significant in most cases compared to the benefit received by the person who was bitten and will now get his or her medical bills and other compensation paid without a deductible or co-pay. Of course if the injury is little or not serious, you and the neighbor may want to think about it further before making the claim – and you are welcome to call us and speak with a lawyer to discuss if it’s worth it.