Dog bites send many innocent people to the hospital or doctor’s office every year. Severe bites could lead to serious infection and possibly result in physical and emotional scars. The law requires dog owners to maintain control of their animals. If they do not, and the dog causes an injury, the owner is liable to the injured party. Consult a Trumbull dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after an attack to determine your best strategy to secure compensation for your injuries and losses. An experienced personal injury lawyer like George W. Ganim, Jr. can provide the legal advantage you need to achieve success.
Connecticut General Statutes § 22-357 imposes strict liability on owners for injuries their dog causes. This means the dog did not need not have shown aggressive tendencies in the past in order to prove negligence. A local dog bite lawyer only needs to show that the dog caused injury and that the defendant owned the dog.
Dog owners are also responsible if their dog hurts someone by knocking them down or scratching them. The injury caused does not have to be as the result of an attack, it could result from mere excitement of a dog. Regardless of the way it occurred, as long as the injured person did not provoke, the dog’s owner is responsible for paying compensation for any losses. The law does not distinguish as to whether the injured occurred in a public or private setting. If the dog caused injury without provocation, the owner is liable.
People who tease or torment a dog cannot claim damages. The owner has the burden of showing that the injured person provoked the dog. If the injured person was a young child under the age of seven, the law does not allow them to be regarded as trespassers or as tormentors of the animal.
The law also protects dogs and their owners if the injured person was committing a wrongful act at the time of the encounter. In a situation where a person with permission to be on the property assaulted or threatened the owner, then the owner might not be liable if the dog defended its owner or property. Trespassers also do not receive the benefit of the strict liability statute. A dog owner who can successfully assert that the injured person was on their property without permission will not be liable for damages.
Damage awards reimburse injured people and their families for all the losses they suffered due to the injury. Juries award economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are easily quantifiable because they have a specific cost. These could include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, plastic or reconstructive surgery and necessary mental health treatment. A person could also receive compensation if they lost income, employment benefits or other earning opportunities because of the injury.
Non-economic damages might include payments for subjective losses like pain and suffering, humiliation and embarrassment, disfigurement and mental anguish. A Trumbull animal attack attorney could help an injured person document the changes that have occurred in their daily lives as a result of the injury in order to support a claim for these non-economic damages.
Sometimes people believe that they can amicably negotiate a reasonable settlement with a dog owner or their insurer without the aid of counsel. That is a mistake. Insurers will not hesitate to take advantage of a situation and make an offer that is far below what you may be entitled or drag a case out until the two-year statute of limitations has expired.
Preserve your rights by partnering with a Trumbull dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after the encounter. The sooner that Attorney George W. Ganim, Jr. can begin gathering evidence, the stronger your negotiating position is likely to be. Schedule a free consultation today.