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Is the Owner at Fault If His Dog Bites Another Person?

Jul 20, 2020 | Dog Bite


It’s a beautiful day outside, and you are getting some fresh air at the park. You decide to take a lap around the pond, admiring the scenery and observing others out enjoying the day. Suddenly, a dog that is not on a leash comes charging up to you and bites you.

In another scenario, you are walking down the street with your canine friend. You pass another pedestrian also with a leashed dog. The two animals get confrontational, and you get nipped in the process of trying to separate the two dogs. The other owner’s dog bit you, but is he at fault for your injuries?

Dog bite cases are a sensitive matter. Many households own a furry friend. Additionally, fewer and fewer people are observing local leash laws, which ultimately increases the likelihood of getting attacked or bitten by a canine.

Personal injury cases that involve dog bites may not seem as severe as car crashes or medical malpractice cases, but they can absolutely produce damage. Even if you believe you are okay and don’t feel pain after a bite, you may still suffer complications, such as rabies or other serious issues. 

Speaking with a seasoned attorney at Stewart & Stewart should be your first move towards evaluating your case and seeking justice. We represent and protect victims of dog bites and will pursue legal action if the other dog handler demonstrated negligence. Starting a conversation with our legal team is an excellent step toward getting your life back on track following an incident.

Who Is Responsible for Dog Bites?

Whether you have your own dog or not, you likely encounter individuals with canines several times a week. Interactions with people and dogs can unfortunately result in harmful encounters in which one or both dogs attack each other, or a dog attacks a human. Younger children and the elderly are even more endangered by aggressive dogs. 

Consequently, when you take to the streets, you should make yourself aware of the legal rights you have when it comes to interacting with people and their dogs. Once you know your rights and the details of your case, you can start to determine if someone else is responsible for your injuries.

Dog owners have a legal duty of care when it comes to their animals. The legal definition of “duty of care” means that owners have an obligation to be careful not to cause harm to others. Therefore, dog owners are responsible for preventing their animal from harming another individual or destroying property. 

What can make the issue more complicated is that states have different laws, and local municipalities enforce their own dog bite and animal control laws. For this reason, it’s essential to make yourself aware of both state and local standards, whether you are a dog owner or not. In Indiana, dog owners may be held liable if they were aware that their dog was likely to attack without provocation. Otherwise, if they were acting in good faith, they may not be held liable for the first bite.

Determining Negligence and Liability

A personal injury case is the result of negligence and liability. Victims of personal injury bring up claims every year in court to hold those responsible for their damages. Dog bite victims may spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on medical expenses, depending on the severity of the attack. Additionally, victims may also pursue damages to personal property or emotional problems caused by the incident.

However, before you have a legitimate case that you can bring to court, you need to understand not only the dog owner’s duty of care, but also the concepts of negligence and liability. Here are how these two key factors work:

  • Negligence: Negligence in dog bite attacks refers to when an owner fails to act responsibly or does something no reasonable dog owner would do in the given circumstances. Sometimes, negligence in dog bite lawsuits is nothing more than the owner failing to leash a dog in a public park.
  • Liability: In order to receive a favorable outcome in a personal injury lawsuit, you need to prove negligence. In turn, negligence can prove liability. Under the legal definition, liability is nothing more than responsibility. It dictates who is responsible for the dog attack. Therefore, if the owner acted negligently, he or she is also liable for your injuries.

You may be surprised to find out what you could receive for the personal injuries sustained from a dog bite. The skilled legal team at Stewart & Stewart can help answer any questions or concerns about a dog bite incident during a free no-commitment consultation. 

Your damages could include compensation for medical bills related to the incident, pay for missed time at work, and compensation for any emotional problems that derive from the attack. You shouldn’t let the dog owner off the hook if he or she acted negligently. Nothing is stopping the same dog from attacking someone else, potentially a small child or senior citizen.

Protect Yourself From Unprovoked Dog Attacks

Dogs do not typically intend to harm humans, but it does happen, depending on the care, or lack thereof, the canine receives from its handler. Dog owners that fail to provide a reasonable duty of care are acting negligently and may be liable for your injuries.

Unless you provoked the animal or were trespassing during the time of the incident, most local laws protect citizens from dog bites. If you are injured or require medical attention because of a dog bite, you deserve a financial award to cover medical costs and missed time from work.

We are here to protect your rights and stand up for you in court until fair compensation is received for your injuries. Speak with an attorney today to learn more about your case and appropriate routes of action. You can contact Stewart & Stewart at 1 (800) 33-33-LAW or reach out online.

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