Each year, thousands of Americans are bitten by animals- usually dogs. Often, someone bitten by a dog has a legal right to recover damages from the animal’s owner or other liable party. In addition to the animal’s owner, other parties who could be held responsible include:
- Property owners
- Animal keepers
- Parents of a minor
If a dog bites you, you should first seek medical attention. An untreated animal bite can cause serious injury, infection, and even death if the animal was sick. After your medical evaluation, you might want to consider consulting a Colorado Springs dog bite attorney who has experience handling these kinds of cases. A lawyer will be able to assess your situation and determine what damages you may be eligible to recover.
You should be able to give your attorney the name and phone number of the dog’s owner, along with details about the incident. If you are unable to, a witness or neighbor may know this information. If there are any witnesses to your dog bite, you should secure their names and contact information as well.
Liability for Dog Bites
First, it must be determined who the owner of the dog is. Strict liability is imposed on dog owners in some states. The theory of strict liability dictates that, even if the owner of an animal did nothing wrong with regards to shielding others from attack, he or she is liable for a dog bite. According to this theory, if the dog bites someone, the owner would still be legally responsible even if they had no cause to believe his or her animal was dangerous.
However, in other states, a dog owner can be held liable for injuries inflicted by their animal if they knew, or had reason to know, that their animal had a proclivity to be dangerous. Showing that an owner had such knowledge can be difficult.
Dog Bite Statistics
There are 70 million dogs in the United States. That’s the equivalent of one dog for every 4.5 people, which presents many opportunities for someone to be bitten sometime during their life. Some additional dog bite statistics include:
- 5 million people are bitten by dogs every year- 20% of those require medical attention
- Adults with two dogs in the house are 5x more likely to be bitten
- 27,000 people undergo reconstructive surgery every year as a result of dog bites
- There were 31 dog bite related deaths in 2013
- 359,223 children were bitten between 2010 and 2012
- In 2013, dog bite claims constituted one-third of all homeowners’ liability insurance claims