What happens if your dog causes injury, and are you liable?
Despite the old adage about “the bark being worse than the bite,” dog bites are no laughing matter. More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States and 1 in 5 of those require medical attention. In fact, around 27,000 people undergo reconstructive surgery every year due to attacks by dogs. Children, mainly due to their size and often erratic behavior, are the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured. Unfortunately, most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
In our work representing individuals involved in auto accidents, there are certain common predictors that increase the likelihood of an accident. Behaviors like running a red light, cutting someone off, frequent speeding, and others, increase the probability of an auto accident. However, dog bites are much more unpredictable and can be quite shocking, especially when the situation involves a dog you would never expect to react this way. The consequences of these incidents can be devastating, with many people suffering lifelong physical and emotional trauma.
The Dog’s Owner is Responsible for All Damages
With the joy of dog ownership comes the legal responsibility for any damages or injuries your pet may cause, not just as a result of bites, but also due to falls or other injuries caused by the dog’s behavior. While we tend to think “oh, my dog would never hurt anyone!” it is impossible to know what might trigger the animal to behave in an atypical way: it may be scared, stressed, startled, or sick.
Medical costs are rising dramatically, especially for many of the specialists involved in treating bite victims. Depending on the severity of the dog bite, it can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages due to medical bills, associated losses, and potential lost wages. The bottom line is that a dog owner is responsible for any and all damages his or her dog may cause, and while dog bites are highly unpredictable, please be cautious with your dogs (especially around children).
The personal injury team at Parker Scheer has extensive experience in dog bite cases. If you or someone close to you has been injured by a dog, or to learn how best to prevent claims caused by your own dog, call us at (866) 916-3280. There is never a fee to discuss a potential case.