Dog-related accidents are quite common. This isn’t surprising since there are millions, even billions, of individuals and families that own dogs. Although dogs are welcomed into homes since they can improve security and offer companionship, plus they are also lovable and loyal, these animals can also become a source of emotional and financial turmoil. How? When a pet bites someone, the canine’s victim can sue the dog’s owners. In case this happens, there will be financial troubles since owners may be required by law to pay for the victim’s medical expenses. Moreover, people may be asked to pay the injured party an amount, also known as “compensation”, as payment for lost wages or for physical, emotional or psychological distress. Then, if the court orders for a dog to be put to sleep, this will put more emotional strain on a family or person already suffering from financial losses.

Owner Liability

In order to determine liability, the court takes into account how or why a biting accident happened. One of the most common causes of animal-related accidents is negligence. A dog owner becomes liable if he fails to implement specific safety measures as regards animal handling, especially in public areas or when there are guests in his home. He is also legally responsible if he does something that urges his canine to attack or bite another. There are also states that implement the strict liability statute. In places where this rule applies, it’s harder for a dog owner since he is liable even if he has taken measures to contain or leash his animal; or even if the person bitten intentionally provoked the dog. Here, victims typically only have to prove that a dog belongs to an owner for an owner to be made responsible for his animal’s actions. Finally, there’s also the one-bite rule. This rule provides a dog a free pass, so to speak, on its first bite, provided that the dog has never bitten anyone before. But the dog and its owner are accountable for succeeding bites.

In some cases, however, a dog’s owner may not be liable for his pet’s actions if the victim was a trespasser, a veterinarian or if the dog bite victim was assaulting the dog’s owner at the time the biting occurred. Furthermore, dogs involved in police work are usually exempted.

It’s very important for people who own dogs to learn the state-specific, as well as breed-specific, rules and regulations concerning their pets. By being informed, they will learn about which things will make them liable and which things will work in their favor in case their dog injures someone.

Victim Rights

A person bitten by a dog can file a legal complaint. Complaints like this are classified under “personal injury”. This is a legal category that encompasses cases involving negligence. Dog biting incidents are usually considered as such, especially if a biting accident caused severe emotional, physical or psychological trauma. Other types of injuries that dog bite victims can suffer include: – Cuts and bruises – Lacerations – Muscle Tear – Fractures – Loss of Limb – Loss of Physical Function – Deformities – Death – Infection (i.e. rabies and other life-threatening infections)

The writer, Claire March, assists a known Calabasas personal injury lawyer in dog bite cases. Together with this Calabasas injury attorney, they help pet owners uphold their rights in dog bite accidents.