Dogs can make great friends, but they can also be hostile and attack you or other people. If you have a dog, you are fully responsible for your dog’s actions and any injuries it might cause to others. You can also sue for a dog bite injury if you were attacked and injured by someone’s dog.
Injuries Dog Bites Can Cause
Depending on the intensity of the attack, you can suffer either slight or severe injuries if a dog bites you. Dog bites injuries can range from just minor scratches to life-changing injuries or death.
Dog bites can also cause bacterial diseases such as rabies, tetanus, Pasteurella, and sepsis. Apart from the physical injuries, dog bites can also cause psychological effects like stress, cynophobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Although a dog owner is liable for the injuries their dog might leave you with, your defendant or their insurer can defend themselves in various ways. Read on to find four legal defenses of a dog owner.
If you were illegally on someone’s property and their dog attacked you, they are not responsible for your injuries. The law can only hold the dog owner liable if they instructed the dog to attack you at their property. It is illegal for dog owners to endanger other people’s lives, even on their private property.
Dog owners can also be held responsible if their dog attacked a neighbor’s children who trespassed into their property. You should then be keen with your dog and protect your neighbor’s children because they are likely to enter your property anytime.
2. Provoking the Dog
A dog is likely to bite you if you provoke it. If you intentionally or unintentionally provoked a dog and it bit you, the owner of that dog will not be liable for your injuries. Provoking a dog includes invading the dog’s space, its food, or stepping its paws.
However, the owner of the dog can be held liable if their dog bit a child if it was the child who provoked it. You may be responsible for children being bitten by your dog because children don’t understand the risks of provoking a dog.
Sometimes, you may be aware that a dog is dangerous and that it can bite you and you but you go ahead to provoke or play with it. In such cases, if a dog bit you and you were aware of the risks, it is then considered carelessness. The owner of the dog cannot be responsible for your carelessness and ignorance if the dog harmed you.
4. Breaking the Law
If you were doing something illegal when a dog attacked you, then the owner of that dog is not responsible for your attack. It may be difficult for the owner to prove that you were doing something illegal. But if you can prove that whatever you were doing during the attack was not unlawful, the dog owner can be responsible for your injuries.
You Need to Take Caution
Not every time you file a lawsuit for dog bites, you win and get damages. You might lose some dog bite cases and miss compensation even though someone’s dog injured you. If a dog attacked you before filing a lawsuit in court, it might help if you examined the situation first.
It would be wise also to involve a dog bite lawyer to help you examine the situation and determine whether filing a case is worth it. If your lawyer advises you that you were in the wrong, then consider not filing a lawsuit.