What to do if my dog got out of my yard and chased a neighbor who ran, fell and injured himself?

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What to do if my dog got out of my yard and chased a neighbor who ran, fell and injured himself?

It happened about 4 am and I was not aware that he got out. My neighbor saw my dog and became scared so started running and then fell and broke their ankle. He is now trying to sue me. What type of attorney do I need ? And wouldn’t this be covered under my landlord’s homeowner’s policy? This was not a pit bull or a dangerous dog. I have 3 babies and no money to be sued.

Asked on August 18, 2015 under Personal Injury, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The landlord's policy will not cover an injury caused by your dog the landlord's policy does not cover his tenants they should have their own insurance.
It is not at all clear that you would be liable, or responsible to pay. First, to be liable, you must have been at fault, which generally means negligent, or unreasonably careless. If the dog got lose because you were careless e.g. didn't close a gate, you could be liable, but if you did everything you reasonably should have done and the dog got lose anyway e.g. he was tied up and pulled so hard as to break his chain/leash, you would most likely not be liable. Furthermore, even if you were liable, the amount you may have to pay would be reduced by the other person's own liability, such as his carelessness in first panicking, then falling. So there is a reasonable chance you are not liable or only partially liable.
Still, if sued, you should retain an attorney to defend you. You want a litigator an attorney who handles lawsuits not a contract or wills or real estate attorney with some experience in personal injury cases.


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