What happens if a dog bites someone on your property? Considering who would cover legal expenses in a dog bite case is crucial. Even if the victim of a dog attack was a customer, trespasser, or salesperson, you can still be held liable.
The many scenarios that could arise in a dog bite lawsuit regarding an incident on your private or public property are explained below. This article also clarifies whether your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy will cover the claimed damages. Remember that each state has different specific dog bite rules and statutes; this is only a broad overview.
Disclaimer: To understand more, look up the dog bite laws within your state or speak with a reputable Las Vegas dog bite lawyer.
What are the legal consequences of a dog biting someone on my property?
The legal consequences of a dog biting someone on your property can vary depending on the laws in your jurisdiction. In many places, the owner of a dog may be held liable for injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether the incident occurred on their property.
Here are some potential legal consequences:
- Civil Liability: The person who was bitten may file a civil lawsuit against the dog owner to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the bite.
- Criminal Penalties: In some cases, if the dog owner is aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies or has a history of biting, the owner may face criminal charges. Criminal penalties may include fines or even imprisonment in extreme cases.
- Dog Control Laws: Many jurisdictions have specific laws regulating the control of dogs, including leash laws and requirements for keeping dogs restrained or confined. Violating these laws could result in fines or other penalties.
- Homeowner’s Insurance: Some homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bites on the insured’s property. However, coverage and exclusions vary, so it’s essential to review the insurance policy to understand the extent of protection.
It’s crucial to take preventive measures to avoid such situations. That may include properly restraining or confining the dog, posting fence warning signs, and taking other precautions to prevent the dog from posing a danger to others.
Premises Liability: What Standard Care Do You Owe?
Premises liability is the first consideration when a dog bite occurs on your property. A person entering your property has a legitimate hope of staying safe. Anyone on a homeowner’s property is entitled to a certain level of care. It means whoever owns or occupies the property, such as a renter, is responsible for keeping it sufficiently safe. Those who enter a property are also subject to this duty of safety. There are two ways of keeping your property safe: either post warning signs regarding a potentially dangerous dog or keep dangerous animals out of guests.
Dog owners’ responsibilities for animal control are enshrined in leash laws in numerous states and cities. If a loose dog attacks someone in such areas, the dog owner is solely responsible for any dog bite injuries caused by the bite. Plaintiffs don’t need to demonstrate that the defendant’s behavior is careless or negligent in places where strict dog bite liability statutes are in place. They are entitled to non-economic damages, medical costs, and injury damage recovery. If it’s the dog owner’s first time biting someone, they are not liable in states with a one-bite rule. It implies that the victim’s significant injuries or medical expenses are not the pet owner’s or their insurance company’s responsibility.
Invited Guests and Others
Dog owners are usually legally responsible for taking reasonable care of anyone on their property.
The injured party may be entitled to damages if they demonstrate the owner was careless or neglected to exercise reasonable caution when taming their dog. An owner might be held accountable, for example, if they failed to restrict a dog and warn of its potentially dangerous behaviors. The fact that a dangerous dog is unrestrained or not using a muzzle is probably sufficient evidence to support the victim’s harm claim. Signs that read “Beware of Dog” or “My dog bites” are simple yet effective methods to use reasonable caution when alerting people about an animal.
Most states, including Connecticut, Florida, and Tennessee, have rules prohibiting people from receiving compensation for dog bites if they were not in a private place as permitted by law. Trespassing, trying to conduct a crime, and threatening an animal are a few examples.
Compensation for trespass may be available in some states in a personal injury case. You will be held responsible for any injuries sustained by that person if your animal hurts them on your property.
It is only valid if the animal owner is unreasonable or brings up an alluring annoyance that hurts kids. Whether your state has a dog bite statute protecting owners from the responsibility of trespassers will depend on your location. Children under seven are not allowed to trespass in areas like Massachusetts; thus, the property owner stays responsible. In Nevada, if a trespasser has a sign that reads “No Trespassing,” the pet owner is not liable for the trespasser’s injuries.
You should be aware of your Chihuahua Teacup’s possibly dangerous traits if she has attacked someone by biting or rushing at them. The law considers her dangerous. In this case, you would be held solely liable if a dangerous Teacup bit someone on your property.
If you post a warning sign alerting people to the presence of a dangerous dog on the property, you can prevent this. For an aggressive dog, you can also employ muzzles or leashes. If a dog has bitten someone in the past, this may be required by your local animal control laws or leash restrictions.
Who pays when the dog bites?
If liability worries you despite owning a dog, you should get renters’ or homeowners’ insurance. If you are sued by someone or a loved one for an animal bite on your property, most insurance includes some form of coverage. Such insurance policies will pay settlements and offer an attorney for you.
Read your policy carefully because some insurance providers may not cover specific dog breeds. If your coverage does not cover your dog, consider looking into other insurance providers. You can obtain pet insurance plans that will cover particular dog types.
If you lose your lawsuit against the injured party, you may be held personally responsible for payment if you do not have insurance.
What Damages Can A Dog Bite Victim or Animal Attack Recover?
Dog bite victims may suffer from a variety of expenses and losses as a result of the attack. Among the most usual expenses are:
- Hospital admission, prescription drugs, medical bills, and plastic surgery
- Psychiatric and physical therapy
- Wages lost due to lost work time due to recovery and medical care
- General suffering and pain
- Property damages
According to the one bite rule, if a dog has a history of attacking or biting people, the victim can be entitled to double or triple compensatory damages. The dog’s owner may also be subject to a judgment of punitive damages as punishment.
A court case might not be the best action for victims if their mild injuries and compensatory damages are minimal. Before going to court, many people decide to settle dog bite cases. Benefits of obtaining a prompt settlement include:
- Receiving compensation faster
- Preventing an unexpected decision
- Avoiding further dog bite attorney fees
- Removing numerous court appearances and proceedings
To determine whether a fair settlement will be reached or a trial is likely, victims and defendants should speak with a dog bite attorney to discuss fees, review the case, and calculate damages. You may determine what is best for you, the ones you love, and anyone else impacted by the animal assault by weighing your options.
Legal Defenses for Dog Owners
Dog owners have several legal defenses despite the severe liability for dog bite laws that apply to them. It’s essential to discuss your choices with a legal expert.
They can offer you viable options to uphold your rights and clarify your position in court.
Below are a few scenarios that we listed. It will provide further insight into your legal rights during a dog attack.
In these situations, the dog owner may be able to escape responsibility for the dog attack.
The Victim provoked the dog
Dogs are aggressive animals, and biting someone is usually how they defend themselves. According to dog bite rules, if a victim provokes the dog, the dog owner is not responsible for any harm. The court can absolve the defendant if they can show proof that the dog was attacked, teased, or tempted to attack.
The Person Is Trespassing
Let’s say your guard dog bit a trespasser on your property. Is it possible to hold you responsible? The state in which you live will determine the response. For example, in Utah, homeowners are not liable for harm caused by trespassers or uninvited guests who enter their property.
The state’s premises laws state that property owners are only accountable if they purposefully give their pets the order to attack the intruder. In this case, the defendant may be held liable to the plaintiff for any losses they suffer.
Has Someone on Your Property Been Bit by a Dog? For Legal Help, Speak with a Dog Bite Attorney!
Get in touch with us right away if you want an experienced dog bite attorney! Call (702) 364-2483 to arrange a free case evaluation and consultation at our excellent personal injury law firm. For us to assess your case, you can also submit your request for a consultation online by completing the contact form on our website.
Dog attack cases typically have complex and challenging legal issues. Getting the expert advice of a dog bite attorney could significantly boost your chances of winning the case. A personal injury lawyer might help you whether you own a dog or have been bitten by one. For questions and more information, call us today.