Injured By A Dog? The Dog’s Owner May Have To Compensate You
Dogs are our best friends, and provide love and companionship to us. But it’s easy to forget that dogs are also hunters, meat eaters, and can be aggressive at times. When someone is injured as a result of a dog bite, they can sue, but there are a lot of issues in dog bite cases that victims may not be aware of.
Not Just Biting
When we think of suing for an injury caused by a dog, we often think of a bite. Of course, you can sue if you are bitten, but a bite isn’t the only time you may be able to receive compensation from the dog’s owner. Dog owners are also liable for any damages their dog causes, whether by a bite or otherwise.
This can include scratches, or being knocked over by a larger dog. Note that the dog doesn’t have to be acting mean or aggressive; if a dog even accidentally were to cut you or knock you over, and you were injured, you may have the right to sue the owner of the dog.
Who is the Owner?
When a dog causes an injury or damages, the dog owner is liable. Sometimes, this can be a difficulty proving liability in the case. That’s because it may not be so clear who the dog’s owner actually is. Many people share dogs, or a dog may live in a home with multiple people.
Victims don’t have to prove that the owner knew that a dog was dangerous, or that the dog was prone to jump on people, or that the dog has any history of any behavior that could cause injury. The dog does not get, as many people believe, “one free bite.” Even if the dog is completely sweet, and then suddenly out of the blue injures someone—the owner can be liable.
In fact, even if the owner did nothing wrong, the owner can be liable for injuries caused by the dog. That’s because owners are “strictly liable” for injuries caused by their dogs.
Defenses to Dog Bite Cases
There are only a few ways that an owner can protect him or herself from being sued. One way is to put up a “dangerous dog” or similar sign on the property. If your dog does injure someone else on your property, a victim may have a hard time suing if a sign was put up and was visible. Additionally, trespassers usually can’t sue when they are injured by a dog.
A court can also consider provocation by the victim. The victim may have purposely incited or excited the dog, or antagonized the dog. If the victim does anything to encourage or provoke the dog, the victim may have a harder time suing for damages. Of course, this often requires experts to testify what behavior will or will not antagonize an animal.
Injured by a dog or an animal? Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today.