Dog injured due to neighbors negligence?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Dog injured due to neighbors negligence?

I live next to a small vineyard and winery. Two years ago the had some workers making the fence taller to keep deer out by welding extensions to existing t-post. They cut the two lines of barbed wire and dropped them on the ground to make welding easier. They never returned to complete the job. I complained to the past manager, the present manager and the problem was not fixed.

On Christmas Eve this year my dog got tangled up in the barbwire causing extensive injury to her eye which the vet wanted to do surgery at a cost of 750 to us, we could not afford this and went with a cheaper alternative. My pet will be left with a nasty scare and may possible loose vision in this eye and may even require the surgery anyway. I now have to keep her in the house and she will require special attention for the next 3 to 6 months to heal this injury. I sent a message to the owner letting her know of the situation and bottom line she is a bad neighbor and doesn’t care.

My question is could the actions of the vineyard be considered negligence in a court of law? I can get statements from numerous workers regarding this fence and my complaints that it needed to be fixed. What kind of damages could I seek? Would it be worth my time?

Asked on December 26, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First, while this may have been negligent on their part, there was also apparently negligence on your part, too--you let your dog roam near where you knew (since you complained about it) there was barbed wire, which is careless.  (People are expected to avoid hazards or risks of which they are aware.) That seeming negligence on your part could reduce or even possibly eliminate what you could recover. 
Second, there is no "pain and suffering" recovery for pets, or for your time and inconvenience--only for your direct costs. So if, for example, the surgery will cost a total of $1,250, between what you have spent to date and will have to spend, that's the most you could get, even if you won 100% and had no reduction for your 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 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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