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If you or a loved one were injured by a dog bite, who is legally responsible? The simple answer is the dog’s owner, but there may be extenuating circumstances that can place the liability on other parties instead of or in addition to the dog’s owner.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 4.7 million people are bitten or mauled by dogs every year, most commonly children. Of these several million dog-bite victims, more than 800,000 require medical treatment. Unfortunately, more than a dozen deaths occur every year due to dog attacks.
When parents knowingly keep a dangerous animal around a minor child, they may be held liable for any injuries/damages incurred.
If a family owns an animal they know to be potentially dangerous, and also allows a child under the age of 18 into their house—including their own child—the parents may be held liable for any injuries occurring as a result of that animal biting or attacking a child. In these situations, it’s possible that a third-party could bring a legal claim forward against the parents of the minor child that was bit. Again, in these instances, the accusing party must be able to prove that the parents had prior knowledge of the risk their animal presented.
If your dog has been bitten
If another dog has bitten or attacked your dog, follow the same steps as described above with the added emphasis of gathering witness information. Animal bite laws are different than human bite laws and often do not work in favor of the injured dog. But if you report the dog bite, you can help prevent a future dog or person from being victimized by the same dog. We recommend reviewing this e-book, What To Do If Your Dog Is Injured Or Killed, by dog bite attorney Kenneth Phillips.
What are my rights if a dog bites me? | Gomez Trial Attorneys
Learn the immediate and long-term steps to take after being bitten or attacked by a dog. Our recommendations are not intended as legal advice. (If a dog has bitten your dog, click here.)