Neighbor injured in dog fight...

by LuAnn
(Naples, FL)

While taking my dog (11-yo boxer) on her daily morning walk, another neighbor was walking her dog. Both dogs were leashed. Once my dog spotted her dog, she lunged and the retractable leash sliced into my finger causing me to drop the leash. Both dogs started fighting.

Neither dog was injured, but the neighbor fell and fractured her leg. Where do I go from here? Am I responsible for paying all her medical bills? Both our dogs were fighting together. Any perspective you can give would be appreciated. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Neighbor injured in dog fight...":

LuAnn (Naples, FL):

From the facts you present, it doesn't appear you have much liability for the woman’s injury. For you to be liable, there must be a link which connects your actions (and by inference, your dog’s actions) to the woman's injury.

Your actions in releasing the leash must have been the "proximate cause" of your neighbor's injury. Moreover, to have proximately caused the injury you must have been negligent.

It can be argued that dropping the leash when it began to slice your finger does not constitute negligence. If negligence can’t be proven, then your actions cannot have been the proximate cause of the woman's injury. As a result, you likely owe the woman nothing. But since the liability issue is arguable, it would be best to speak with an attorney.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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