Dogs have historically been referred to as “man’s best friend,” and in the majority of cases, this sentiment rings true. Unfortunately, the fact remains that dogs are still animals, and this means that their primitive drives still exist within them. Because of this, almost 4.5 million individuals in the United States are bitten by dogs every year. Since these types of attacks can happen to anyone at nearly any time, it’s imperative for everyone to know the legal ramifications of such an attack and how to handle a bite.
Dog Bite Laws
There aren’t many laws that apply to every state in America, and the same holds true when it comes to dog bite laws. There are, however, several similarities. “In most states, owners of aggressive dogs are completely liable for medical expenses, all other losses and legal damages in any instance where a dog inflicted severe injury on a person without provocation,” says one law firm. Many states require dogs to be maintained at all times; this means that a canine should never be roaming free without the guidance of their owner. While many individuals do this anyway, and several localities overlook it, the problems arise when one of these dogs bites an individual.
After a dog has bitten someone, there are several outcomes that may arise. First in the minds of many dog owners, however, is the fact that their dog may be euthanized. This isn’t often an automatic outcome, but in instances where the dog is still a danger to people, authorized officers may immediately put the dog down. In most cases, however, there will be a hearing to determine whether or not the animal should be euthanized.
Immediately following a Bite
Anyone who is bitten by a dog should immediately seek out medical attention. In many cases, the bite is severe enough to warrant emergency medical assistance. It’s also imperative, though, to contact the police about the bite. Police officers will be able to get the proper authorities on scene to take possession of the dog. This is imperative because the dog will need to be observed for a certain period of time to ensure that it isn’t carrying any diseases which could prove dangerous to the bite victim.
When it comes to dog bite laws, the similarities between the states often lie in the liability arena. In most cases, a dog owner is immediately considered negligent when their animal bites someone. In some cases, however, it may be contingent on the victim to prove that the dog owner was in some way negligent or should’ve known that their dog was dangerous. This is only the case, however, in a minority of states.
When a person has been bitten by another individual’s dog, they should contact a personal injury attorney to ensure that their rights are protected. A very small amount of individuals do this after being bitten, but many eventually regret it once they realize just how expensive and emotionally draining these attacks can be. A personal injury attorney, though, can help a person recover medical bills, lost income and even damages for pain and suffering.
Being attacked by a dog can be a disheartening and even tragic event. The scars left behind are often physical and emotional in nature, and the issues that a victim faces after an attack hardly ever stop after receiving medical care. Luckily, there are laws in each state that are meant to protect individuals from potentially dangerous canines. While these laws may not always prevent an attack since some owners are negligent, states’ statutes usually ensure that a victim will be properly compensated for their injury.