We generally do not get much say in who lives next door. Maybe we get along great with our neighbors and a situation like this is a surprise or maybe we have always had reservations and are frustrated that we did not act sooner. Whatever the background, it is important to move forward carefully after a neighbor’s dog bites a child.
This may seem easier said then done. It can help to have some guidelines or structure to help guide the process. With that goal, the following sample timeline can help provide some guidance.
#1: Get medical care.
First, take care of the child. If the bite broke the skin, it is probably a good idea to seek medical care. Dog’s mouths, just like any other mouth, can contain bacteria and there is a risk of infection. Medical professionals note that these types of injuries often require medical treatment. The treatment will vary depending on the severity of the bite and can include use of antibiotics, stitches, or even additional surgical interventions.
#2: Gather information.
If the dog was the neighbor’s, you likely already have their contact information. If they were watching the dog, get the dog’s owners information as well. Keep copies of medical records and bills. Take photos of the injury and consider writing down a brief description of what happened for future reference.
You will likely need to report the bite to authorities as well.
#3: Consider accountability.
There is a high likelihood that your neighbor is responsible for the dog attack. New York is a bit more complicated than other states because there are rules at the state as well as county and city levels that can impact your options. It is a good idea to reach out to legal counsel to review the situation and provide guidance, so you understand your options.