Owner Liability for Dog Bites and Pet Damages

Pets are the property of the owner of them, so the owners can be liable to injuries that the pets do inflict on others, or even on property.  Typically, when people think of injuries associated with dogs, they mean dog bites, but this applies to all kinds of animals, and you are liable for them too. 

In most states, this is established by statutes too. 

Dog Owner Liability 

The liability of dog bites does depend on the state, city, or even county. In some cases, the dog owner is strictly liable for the dog.

But there are exceptions to this. If the victim committed a crime for example and was in the middle of committing a felony and was bitten, or the victim did provoke the animal, then you’re not liable. Also, if they were trespassing, then they aren’t liable either. 

In some states, they only hold the owner liable if the owner had a reason to know that the dog was aggressive in that instance. 

How they Can Protect Themselves 

The first thing, is you should get renter’s or homeowners insurance, especially if you’re in states where you’re responsible for the attacks of the dog, and there are extra circumstances. 

You may want to make sure that dog bites are covered. That’s because some companies only cover some animals or some dog breeds. Some dogs such as pit bulls aren’t covered, since they’re considered “dangerous and aggressive” dogs. 

The second thing, is look into the dog ownership rules that come into this. Some of them do have strict liability, which means that you’re legally responsible for everything. 

What are the Defenses 

There are a few defenses that can be claimed in this situation. 

First is provocation. If the person did provoke or aggravate the dog, they’re not liable for the injury at hand. 

Contributory negligence is another one. If you adopt this, you might be liable for a part of what the court finds you liable for. If the victim contributed, then you’re not totally liable for this. 

Assumption of risk is another. If you did warn the person that hey, this dog is aggressive, and the victim still tried to provoke or touch it, then of course, they can not be liable at this point. 

Can Vets Sue Pet Owners for Injuries 

Typically veterinarians can’t do this, that’s because with the way their profession is, they assume certain levels of risks when working with animals, and their job is sometimes to poke around and prod to figure out the problem, which can lead to reactions from the animals. There is also the fact that a veterinarian is the temporary owner of a dog when they take it in, so the owner isn’t liable in that case. 

However, there are still some exceptions. Owners are usually liable if the pet is not nice and they didn’t tell the veterinarian beforehand, and of course, if their employer fails to protect the employees from the risk that’s given by any sort of animal as well. 

If you’re worried about being sued, or if you think that you have a case and want to sue the owner, then you should speak with a personal injury attorney to help you sort this out.

They can help you with your obligations and rights as a pet owner, along with understanding the legal system of such. This, of course, is really important especially as a pet owner, since in a lot of cases, this can definitely impact the overall result of the case for both parties as well too.

Related Posts