Victims of animal attacks in Connecticut can use the law to help hold owners responsible for their pet’s aggression.
Can a dog bite victim hold the owner of the dog accountable for his or her injuries? In short, the answer is generally yes. However, having an understanding of some of the laws that impact the outcome of this answer can help you decide if it is wise to move forward with a case against the owner.
What laws are used in dog attack cases? This area of law generally falls under the umbrella of personal injury. As such, state laws often apply. This piece focuses specifically on injuries that occur in Connecticut.
The Connecticut statute on dog bites considers these cases a strict liability issue. This means that the owner is responsible for the dog’s actions. The victim does not need to show that the dog was unprovoked or that there was negligence that contributed to the bite. The simple fact that there was a bite is generally enough to begin building a case to hold the owner responsible for the victim’s injuries.
There are some exceptions. Those who are committing a crime, teasing or abusing the dog may not be able to hold the owner responsible for resulting injuries. However, children under the age of seven are not part of this exception.
In addition to the state statute, relief can be available under common law. For these cases, the victim must show that the animal had a propensity to attack.
How have the courts ruled in these types of cases? Courts have upheld the ability of a victim to hold a pet owner responsible for injuries caused by the pet.
One example that involves the application of legal remedies through common law is the case Allen v. Cox. In this case, a pet cat attacked a neighbor. The pet owner in this case allowed her cat to roam free. The victim argued that this was negligent. This was the first time the cat had attacked a person, but the cat had a history of starting fights with other cats. The owner attempted to argue that she was unaware of the cat’s vicious propensities, but this argument did not prevail. The court held in favor of the victim, noting the repeat attacks on other cats was enough to establish that the animal was vicious.
Does the severity of the injury matter? It is important to keep in mind that even a relatively minor injury can led to more serious problems. Even a minor bite can result in dangerous complications. A man recently nipped by a dog suffered serious complications, ultimately developing sepsis due to the injury. The infection led to his death.
As a result, legal intervention can be needed whether the injury is severe initially or develops complications in the future. In either situation, an experienced personal injury attorney can build a case to gain legal remedies to help cover the costs that result from the dog attack.
Should a victim of an animal attack seek legal counsel? It is generally wise for those who are attacked by an animal to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can build a case to better ensure legal remedies are available for the victims of animal attacks.