There are about 60 million dogs in the United States, most of which are lovable pets. Unfortunately dogs sometimes bite and according the Centers for Disease Control the number of dog bites requiring medical attention has been steadily rising. The number of dog bite injuries is more than the reported cases of mumps, measles and whooping cough combined.
Each year approximately 800,000 dog bites occur nationwide that require medical care.
The American Humane Association says the most severe attacks happen because city dwellers select large, aggressive breeds of dogs for personal protection.
If you have been bitten by a dog, be sure and get the information from the owner of the dog so that your medical bills and injury can be fairly compensated. Most home owners insurance policies provide coverage for these type of cases.
If you have been bitten by a dog you may need a lawyer, contact us.
Liability for dog bites and other losses caused by a dog
In most places, a dog owner is liable for dog bites simple by virtue of owning the dog. The owner cannot avoid liability by attempting to show that he or she obeyed all laws, acted reasonably, and did not know the dog was capable of biting. The owner's state of mind and freedom from negligence are irrelevant because liability is based on mere ownership of the dog.
A dog does not get "one free bite" in such states. There are, however, several exceptions to liability. The usual exceptions are these:
* The victim was a trespasser
* The victim was a veterinarian who was treating the dog at the time of the incident
* The victim was committing a felony
* The victim provoked the dog
* The dog was assisting the police or the military at the time of the incident If the conditions for liability are met, the victim can get money for all of the following things:
* Medical treatment such as first aid, emergency room, hospital, and ambulance
* Future medical treatment for scar reduction
* Psychological counseling to overcome the emotional trauma of the attack, fear of dogs, fear of being outdoors, and dealing with disfigurement
* Loss of earnings from work or the victim's business
* Torn clothing and broken glasses
What if you don't own the dog, or the victim is an animal, or the losses were not caused by a bite?
Now, you might wonder whether you are liable if (a) you are not the owner of the dog, but the dog lives at your house, (b) the dog injures another animal, not a person, or (c) the dog injures a person by jumping on him, not biting him. In each case, the answer is possibly YES. This is because all people who own, care for and house dogs are responsible for their own negligence with regard to the dog. Consequently, the victim is entitled to make a claim against anyone who unreasonably failed to restrain a dog under their care, or forgot to warn a house guest that a dog had a bad habit of jumping on people, to name just a couple of common examples.
What should you do to protect yourself?
A homeowner (or a renter who has a good-paying job or significant assets) owes it to himself or herself to get insurance that protects against dog bites and other liability stemming from dogs. There are two general reasons. First, merely owning a dog subjects you to the possibility of having to pay for all injuries that a dog can cause, whether or not you did anything negligent, and whether or not you had any warning that the dog could inflict injuries. A bite to the face (which is the most common target) can cause $50,000.00 in medical bills and result in a permanent disfigurement; you will lose your house if your dog does this to someone and you are not properly insured.
Second, the sad truth is that, if your dog bites anyone, the victim will be a member of your family or one of your friends. In fact, the victim probably will be a child. You want to provide a source of funds to make right that kind of loss. For that reason, you should have proper insurance:
Insurance covering employers and breeders, if they are responsible
contact us if you have been attacked by a dog