You may not think that there is a reason why you should have to stand up for yourself if you've been attacked by a neighbor's dog. However, if the neighbor asserts that you caused the attack, they may try to avoid paying for your medical costs or other losses.
The real question is whether you can actually be liable for your own injuries from a dog bite. Shouldn't all dogs be trained not to bite humans? They certainly should, but there are instances when you could be held liable for your own injuries.
Owners are usually held strictly liable for any injuries their pets cause, but a victim could be at fault as well. Take, for example, this case. A teenager finds a neighbor's dog in the backyard of their home. The dog shouldn't be there, but it isn't doing anything wrong. Instead of going to get the neighbor or kindly collecting the dog and taking it home, the teen attacks it.
The teen approaches aggressively and scares the animal, creating an aggressive situation. In this situation, if the dog lashes out, the owners might suggest that the teen brought the injuries on by hurting the animal or scaring it purposefully. If a judge believes that the animal was pushed to attack by the alleged victim, they may be inclined to let the owner off the hook.
When it comes down to it, there is no excuse for an animal attacking. If it is reacting in self-defense, however, you could find that it is more difficult to win your case. If your neighbor tries to assert that the animal was attacking in self-defense when that was not the truth, you may wish to have your attorney present your side of the case thoroughly. Owners should be held liable for animals who attack without provocation.