In personal injury law, strict liability is a legal standard that holds a party accountable for injury and damages whether negligence was a factor or not. The party or parties in question can be held liable regardless of whether they exercised sufficient care to prevent harm to others.
Connecticut has instituted a strict liability rule for dog bite claims. However, this does not automatically entitle you to damages if you are bitten or otherwise injured by someone else’s dog.
An experienced attorney can discuss what strict liability means for your dog bite claim and what is involved in recovering compensation.
Most personal injury claims require you to prove that the negligence of another party caused your injuries and subsequent losses. Under strict liability, however, you just have to prove that the defendant is responsible for the injury, not that negligence or wrongdoing was a factor.
In the case of a dog bite, then, you have to prove that the owner’s dog bit you. You do not have to prove that the owner’s negligence (e.g., failure to keep the dog on a leash, failure to secure the property, etc.) led to the attack.
Strict liability is not absolute liability. Dog owners can contest fault by arguing that the victim was trespassing or that he or she provoked the attack.
Although strict liability relieves you of the burden of proving negligence on the part of the dog’s owner, you still need to prove that you have a legitimate claim for compensation. The most important elements of a successful dog bite claim are:
Establishing who owns the dog that bit you is straightforward in some cases, such as when you are lawfully on another’s property. In other cases, however – such as if you are attacked by a loose dog while you are out on the street – it can be difficult to find out who owns the dog.
If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, seek medical treatment immediately. Emergency room staff will clean and examine your injuries, stitch up and bandage the wounds, and provide you with instructions for aftercare. Not only is seeking treatment essential for minimizing damage and preventing infection from a dog bite, but doing so creates a record of the injuries you have sustained.
Finally, starting with the medical bills from your emergency room visit, you need to keep any and all documentation for costs related to the dog bite. In addition to what you pay out of pocket, take detailed notes about your daily pain levels, any complications you experience, days you miss from work, and any other ways the injury affects your life. All of these represent damages for which you may be entitled to compensation.
Homeowners and renters insurance policies generally cover the damages from a dog bite or dog attack. As such, compensation is typically paid by the owner’s insurance company, not by the owner of the dog directly.
This is welcome news for victims and dog owners alike. Many dog bites occur on property belonging to a family member, friend, or neighbor, and nobody wants to have to sue someone close to them.
However, insurance companies do not make it easy to recover damages. The insurer will try to pay as little as possible and potentially dispute liability for your losses.
Given the challenges that may arise in a dog bite claim, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can collect evidence on your behalf and pursue the full compensation you deserve.
Dog bites should always be taken seriously. In addition to physical injuries and financial losses, victims often suffer long-term psychological trauma as a result of being attacked by a dog. These adverse effects can last for years or, in the case of young children, an entire lifetime.
You and your family may be entitled to significant compensation in the aftermath of a dog bite. At The Flood Law Firm, our attorneys and staff are true believers in the importance of leveling the playing field for injury victims. We consider it our mission to hold insurance companies accountable and recover the full extent of damages suffered by our clients.
The Flood Law Firm has a reputation for taking cases to court – and winning. Insurance companies are aware of this, and it often enables us to negotiate higher settlements. And, in the event that your case goes to court, we are ready to fight for the maximum award. Our results speak for themselves.
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a dog attack, please call (860) 346-2695 today for a free consultation. The Flood Law Firm serves clients throughout Connecticut from offices in Middletown, Danbury, Bridgeport, and Waterbury.