Dog bites are more common and far more severe than most people realize. In the United States, a person is treated for dog bites every 40 seconds. Although this is a shocking statistic, it still doesn’t take into account that only about one quarter of dog bites are actually reported.
An adjusted estimate would amount to nearly 4.6 million dog bite victims per year, and of that number, more than half are children. With so many people getting bitten by dogs annually, it is important to have an understanding how liability is determined in these cases.
Animal owners are responsible for dog bites if they knew that their dog was prone to biting people. This actually can cover a wide range of injuries, including scratches, cuts and bites caused by an animal. Under these circumstances, it is up to the plaintiff to prove that the dog’s owner had prior knowledge about the animal’s potential to cause injury to others.
If dog owners failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling the dog, they may be found liable, even if they had no prior knowledge about the likelihood of the dog causing injury.
In certain states, dog bite statutes can result in the owner being responsible for any injury caused by his or her dog, regardless of prior knowledge or proper restraint. It is up to dog owners to be informed about their local statutes and how they may influence their personal liability.
There are some cases in which a dog owner will not be found liable. This includes situations in which the victim unnecessarily provoked the animal into biting or was bitten while trespassing on private property. However, these stipulations generally do not apply to children.
After a serious dog bite injury to you or a loved one, consult a dog bite injury attorney right away to explore your options for seeking compensation.