Dogs are well known for being man’s best friend, and it is not hard to see why. Who could resist such a cute and cuddly companion? It is important to remember, however, that dog ownership comes with important responsibilities. One of the most important duties of dog ownership includes preventing your pet from injuring others or damaging property.
Because your dog is under your care, you will be held liable if your dog ever hurts someone. This means that you will need to reimburse the victim for anything from medical expenses to pain and suffering. Other possible damages include, but are not limited to, lost wages, time lost from work, and loss of consortium.
Certain homeowners’ and/or renters’ policies include dog owner liability insurance. This insurance may cover the cost of any damages incurred in an accident involving your dog, regardless of whether or not the accident happened on your property. Check your policy to ensure whether or not this is true for you.
If at least one of the following conditions applies to you, you may be liable in a civil lawsuit for a bite or other injury caused by your dog:
However, dog owners are not automatically held liable for every single dog bite. There are various legal defenses for dog bites and other dog-related injuries, even in strict-liability states. For example, such strict-liability statutes may not apply if the dog was provoked by the victim or if the victim was trespassing during the time of injury. A dog bite victim can also be determined to be partially at fault.
Most states have “dangerous dog laws,” and similar ordinances exist in many cities and counties as well. In such jurisdictions, dog owners may be required to take special precautions with their pets once they have injured or even threatened someone. It is even possible that the judge will order the dog to be euthanized if it poses a serious enough risk. Failing to cooperate with any of these restrictions can lead to criminal penalties for the dog owner.
Dog bite-related deaths are rare and tragic. When they occur, they generally transpire as a result of the dog owner’s reckless or even deliberate actions. In such cases, the owner may be charged with manslaughter or a similar crime. Some states, like Florida, have specific criminal laws applying to serious dog attacks. If a Floridian dog owner knew that their pet was dangerous and recklessly ignored the risk it posed anyway, they may be faced with criminal charges.
Dog bite injuries can easily become serious and should be addressed immediately. If you have been bitten, attacked, or otherwise injured by a dog, do not hesitate. Act immediately by carrying out as much of the following as possible:
Generally speaking, dog owners are also liable in cases where their dogs cause damage or even kill other animals. If this has happened to you, consider seeking out the assistance of a qualified dog bite attorney to help you best navigate your case.
Whether you are the victim or the dog owner, dog bite accidents are always traumatic and hard to deal with. We at Injury Victim Law can help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist victims all across the country. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide dog bite lawyers.