Neighbor’s Dog Scratched My Car: What Can I Do?

Nobody wants to experience something like this:

A man parked his car in his driveway and woke up the next morning to find scratches made by a dog paw on the rear wing of his car. He found out later through the help of an installed camera that his next-door neighbor’s dog chased a squirrel into his driveway and made those scratches on his car.

Not only is it frustrating, but it is also very expensive to have scratches on cars repaired. So, what can you do if something similar to this happens to you?

There are ways you can go about it, let’s get started.

What Can I Do If My Neighbors’ Dog Scratches My Car?

To begin with, is the relationship between you and your neighbor ok? No matter the type of relationship you have with your neighbor, the first thing to do is to talk to your neighbor about the damage to your car.

  • Show your neighbor the scratches and also show him the evidence supporting your claim. Make sure you do this as soon as you can because the longer you leave the damages, the more difficult it will be to approach your neighbor.
  • If this is not effective, it leaves you with no other option than to involve the police or local authorities.

Your neighbor’s homeowner insurance (if your neighbors are homeowners) should be able to cover the bills for the damages, if they have renter’s insurance, it might cover it.

If your neighbors refuse to submit a claim to their insurance carrier as they ought to do, then you may file suit, ask for information regarding their insurance and notify their insurance company yourself.

  • Also, take into consideration how deep the scratch is, if the scratches on your car are not too deep to catch your fingernail, it can be polished out and it might not be worth making an insurance claim.

If the scratch is deep to the extent that it can catch your fingernail, the panel will have to be repainted and you may need to make an insurance claim.

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Although, it’s always best to work it out with your neighbor if this happens than to involve the police or local authorities.

Can I Sue My Neighbor For Scratching My Car?

Yes, you can.

But before you sue your neighbor for scratching your car, consider if it’s done on purpose or it was an accident.

If your neighbor intentionally keyed into your car, it’s an act of vandalism.

Good news: You can sue your neighbor for this but make sure you have witnesses or evidence.

You may want to ask:

What if my neighbor’s dog scratches my car, can I sue my neighbor for the scratch?

In short, yes, you can sue your neighbor under ordinary negligence, a dog owner will take the blame for the wrongs done by the dog.

True, dogs are lovely companions but sometimes they may misbehave especially if they are not trained properly or not trained at all.

Before you sue a dog owner for scratches, take a look at these key points:

1. Specialization

You will be making a big mistake if you call an attorney that does not have a specialization in dog bites or dog scratches. Instead, get an attorney that is practiced in personal injury (it will be very good if the attorney is well versed in dog bites).

This goes for both the dog owner and the affected person. It will also benefit if a dog owner gets the right advice from an expert.

2. Working on contingencies

You should get an attorney that charges a retainer fee for his or her service. Recently, many attorneys work on a retainer fee, especially in the case of a dog bite or scratch.

These attorneys know the dog bites statutes and are ready to fight tooth and nail to help you recover medically and physically.

These attorneys will not charge you a dime until they win. The same also goes for dog owners. Unless they recover for their client, attorneys working on contingency do not get paid.

Also, some families prefer attorneys that work on a retainer fee.

How Can I Cover up a Dog Scratch on a Car?

Auto insurance may cover dog scratches depending on your state’s policy. Also, depending on your deductible, what’s the worth?

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Furthermore, how deep or shallow the scratch is determined by how it can be covered up easily. If the scratches in the paint are shallow and do not catch your fingernail, then you can try to polish them out using a buffer pad drill, rubbing compound, and sandpaper.

If the dog scratch is very deep to catch your fingernail, you have to repaint the panel. The amount it will cost to repaint a panel depends on your car’s complexity and size.  

Toothpaste can also remove minor paint scratches. It works like this:

A standard toothpaste and not a gel toothpaste has a minor grit to it which helps polish out the scratches. Note that minor scratches are only on the clear coat over the actual paint.

What Happens if a Dog Accidentally Scratches Me?

As a dog owner, daily interactions with your dog (it may be during playtime) can sometimes result in scratches. These might happen from your dog’s nails when they step or jump on you, as well as scratching you with their teeth accidentally while feeding.

Even if you’re not a dog owner, encounters with dogs might lead to scratches. Some dog scratches are not serious, but it’s important to be careful and check for possible signs of infection, and call a doctor to check for serious health consequences.

Immediately a dog scratches you, even if the scratch looks mild and harmless, you need to treat the scratch to prevent infection and serious health complications.

Follow the steps below:

  • Wash (do not scrub) the wound thoroughly with soap and water for five minutes.
  • Clean and dry the skin with a dry towel.
  • If the dog scratch is still bleeding heavily, apply pressure with a clean gauze pad on the affected area.
  • Apply a small amount of antibiotics, and ointment and cover the wound with a bandage.
  • Ensure you check the scratch for any sign of infection which includes redness, pain and red streaking on the skin, pus coming out of the wound, and increased heat on the affected area.
  • Closely look at the wound for at least 72 hours and seek a medical professional if you experience any symptoms.

Can I Get Sick From a Dog Scratch?

Dog owners and those who come in contact with dogs should know that dog scratches should not be overlooked.

A dog scratch is as dangerous as a dog bite. So, the thing is, yes, you can get sick from a dog scratch.

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An immediate treatment given to a dog scratch wound may prevent sickness but untreated wounds are likely to cause this disease.

Let’s take a look at some of the diseases you can get from a dog scratch:

1. Rabies: Rabies is the most serious disease if a dog bites or scratches anyone. it should be guarded against as much as possible, although it occurs most in dog bites. Quick treatment of a dog scratch wound is important to stop the risk of possible infection.

2. Topical infection: Topical infection is the most pressing and common form of injury caused by dog scratches. Dog scratches can cause infections because they are often exposed to the elements. Some may lodge under their skin and cause discomfort which may lead to surgery.

3. MRSA or a Staph infection: Although they are not common they are also a concern. They are reported mostly by mail carriers and bicycle riders when a dog scratches.

MRSA and staph are drug-resistant infections that can lead to hospitalization and losing a limb that’s why we must pay close attention to them to prevent this. Early treatment of wounds caused by dog scratches prevents all of this infection.

What Can I Do to Prevent Dog Scratches on My Car?

It’s practical.

I’ll walk you through some steps you can take to avoid dog scratches on your car. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Use a durable car cover
  • Barricade your car
  • Wrap your glasses with plastic
  • Raise your winder blades
  • In addition for dog owners
  • Punish your dog the first time you notice a scratch
  • Get a set of dog nail caps
  • Make a house for your dog

All these will prevent your or your neighbor’s dog from coming near your car to do some scratching.

It may be a tough job at first, but developing this strategy will prevent your car from a dog’s scratch.

Conclusion

Dogs are lovely companions and they are always around, but due to bad training or not being trained at all, a dog may misbehave.

As a dog owner, accept responsibility for all the damages done by your dog and take proper care of your dog. Furthermore, follow the proper steps if you’re affected by a dog scratch.

About Stephanie Whitley

Stephanie is fond of doing all backyard-related work at her home. She loves to take sunbathe and do a barbecue in her free time. She often shares practical tips and friendly expert advice on everything relating to home and yard on this blog. When she is not writing, she goes camping with her husband and little kids.