Nearly 5 million people are attacked by dogs each year. Within this group, there are many who find themselves prey to a neighbor's dog. If you've found yourself facing this unfortunate reality, knowing what to do in this type of scenario is important.
Investigate Strict Liability
The rules concerning dog bites can vary from state to state because of a statute known as strict liability. In those states that do impose the strict liability statute, any time a dog bites someone else, the owner is generally deemed liable.
However, in a state that doesn't impose this liability guideline, the owner of the pet might only be deemed liable if they knew their dog had violent tendencies or if they are an aggressive breed. Investigate the laws in your local area to help you determine how you need to approach the situation.
Examine Your Own Negligence
No person deserves to be attacked by a dog; however, the reality is that there are some scenarios in which an individual might increase their own risk of being bitten. It's much more proactive for you to consider whether or not you hold any negligence for the attack before you take your case to court, as the attorney or insurance company investigating the attack definitely will.
An example of this negligence would be stepping into a neighbor's yard, uninvited, and being bitten, or taunting a dog to agitate them. You will want to be forthcoming about any role you may or may not have played from the beginning.
Determine Owner's Responsibility
You also want to investigate the level of responsibility displayed by the owner. For example, if someone were bitten by a dog who got loose in the neighborhood, an investigation as to whether the owner had secure fencing would be important. If the owner didn't have adequate fencing, this may automatically make them responsible.
This is especially the case if the dog has a history of attacks or being loose in the neighborhood. For another example, consider a dog that attacks someone while on a walk with their owner. In this instance, if the owner had the dog on a leash that was too long, giving the animal more range, the court might deem that they were not acting as a responsible owner, making them liable.
Dog bite cases can be quite complex as there are many factors that will influence the outcome of your case. To ensure your rights are protected, it's helpful to partner with an attorney. Check out websites like http://www.danielgoodmanlaw.com for more information.