Dogs are considered to be man's best friend. They are loyal, cute, and faithful companions, providing love and companionship. However, when dogs attack, it can be a terrifying and traumatic experience. Injuries from a dog attack can range from minor injuries, such as scratches, to severe injuries, such as broken bones, disfigurement, and even death. When this happens, who is responsible for the attack?
Understanding Dog Behavior
To understand who is responsible for dog attacks, it is essential first to understand the behavior of dogs. Every dog owner is responsible for ensuring that their dog is well-trained, socialized, and appropriately restrained. If a dog is not trained or socialized appropriately, it may lead to aggressive or unpredictable behavior. The inability to control their dog's behavior means that pet owners are solely responsible for their dog's conduct.
Owner Liability Laws
Many states have dog-bite liability statutes that hold dog owners responsible for injuries caused by their pets. These laws differ from state to state, but most impose strict liability on pet owners, meaning that the owner is held responsible for the dog's behavior, regardless of whether they knew or should have known about the dog's aggressive tendencies. In Texas, the law imposes strict liability on pet owners for injuries caused by their dogs. The state's dog bite law prohibits the dog from having bitten before or shown any vicious propensity.
Homeowner's and Renter's Insurance
Homeowners' and renters' insurance policies may cover dog bite claims up to the policy limit. Some policies may decline coverage or exclude certain breeds, while others may specify a small amount of coverage for specific breeds. It is advisable to check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers dog bites and the limits of that coverage. If your pet is excluded from your policy, talk with your insurance company and a dog bite attorney in your area.
Negligent Third Parties
In some cases, a third party may be held liable for a dog attack. Suppose, for example, a dog is allowed to run loose in public, and it attacks a passerby. In that case, the owner of the dog may be held responsible, but so may the person or entity who allowed the dog to run loose. Negligent third parties in dog bite cases could include landlords, property owners, and animal control agencies allowing dangerous dogs to run free.
Preventing Dog Attacks
Preventing dog attacks is up to individual dog owners and communities. If you are a pet owner, it is important to make sure you are aware of your pet's behavior. Take time to seek professional dog training services to ensure your dog is well-trained and socialized. At the same time, communities may consider implementing ordinances to regulate the ownership of specific breeds with a history of aggression.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Missouri
At Kolker Law Firm, we advocate for dog attack victims in St. Louis, MO. Contact us today at (314) 684-8285 to discuss your case and learn how we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.