67% of the population in the United States have a dog as a pet. This translates to some 76 million dogs across the country. Approximately 4.5 million people report having suffered from a dog bite. If you are part of that 67%, you have probably wondered what you would have to do in case of being involved in this type of accident.
As the dog owner, you are responsible for the damages caused to a third party, and you could be subjected to legal proceedings if this occurs. Although it is not always fair that, as an owner, you have to cover the other person’s medical expenses. Depending on the situation, your attorney or insurance may argue that the person acted in a way that could cause the dog to misbehave. For example:
- The dog was provoked.
- The other person was trespassing or committing a crime at the time of the attack.
- The victim voluntarily put himself at risk for the dog to hurt him.
- The affected person contributed to the injury by not being careful enough.
These arguments cannot be used in all dog bite cases and will not always be accepted as a valid defense method in some states.
As an owner, the arguments that could be used against you are the following:
- The previous bite rule: You can be held responsible because you already knew that your dog could be aggressive.
- Stronger laws can make you liable even if you were not aware that your dog could be aggressive.
- Laws or court decisions that hold you responsible for handling your dog carelessly.
The most common way that some owners were not found liable in the past is when the affected person was committing a crime or entering a property without permission. In this type of situation, it can be argued that it was not the owner’s fault but of the person affected since this person provoked the dog.
At Abogados Campeones, we have experience in this type of personal injury. If you need help with a similar situation, make an appointment with us.