While many people might be nervous when a dog that is perceived as an aggressive breed appears in their front yard, it is easy to be charmed by the cute little terrier or chihuahua that shows up unexpectedly. However, even though it is true that the majority of dog bites that require medical care are often the result of an interaction with a pit bull, rottweiler, or similar breed of dog, smaller dogs can also inflict significant damage that frequently goes unreported. Therefore, if you have been injured by any dog, regardless of breed, size or temperament, it is important to seek medical care and speak with a personal injury lawyer about the following questions as soon as possible.
Does Your State Have "Strict Liability" For Dog Owners?
One common reason that people do not report dog bites has often been that the owner of the dog did not know the dog was out of its yard or home. However, when you are injured, bleeding, or at risk for infection because of a small dog's bite, the owner's lack of knowledge as to where the dog is should not be a determining factor. In that interest, several states have "Strict Liability" laws, and the size of the dog that bit you won't impact the guidelines associated with those laws.
Those laws essentially make it the owner's responsibility to control and contain their dog at all times. If they fail to do so and someone is bitten by the canine in question, the owner is responsible for the expenses associated with the injury. That may be true even if there was no previous reason to suspect that the dog was vicious and if the event was the first time the dog was known to bite or if the dog in question is a small breed.
If The Pet Owner Was Not Present At The Time Of The Bite, Can Anyone Else Be Held Responsible?
Another common concern that may prevent persons injured by small dogs from seeking medical care or reporting the incident to the proper authorities has been that the owner was not at home at the time of the incident. That reluctance may also occur if the dog was owned by a minor or if the canine was merely visiting a property and did not live there. In those instances, it may be possible to hold the person in charge of the dog at the time responsible for the incident. For example, it is not unusual to hold parents responsible for the negligence or errors their children make when it comes to civil matters.
Therefore, if someone under the age of 18 failed to adequately supervise their dog, it is often possible to take action against their parent or legal guardian. In addition, a landlord might be responsible for damages if he or she knew that a dangerous dog was on the premises and made no effort to contain the animal or warn visitors about it. Since any dog can become dangerous, that concern is important to be aware of. It is also helpful to remember that if a dog escaped from its yard or used an open window in the home to get outside, the owner might still be responsible for damages, as they failed to secure the dog prior to leaving the home.
In conclusion, even a small, cute dog has the potential to inflict painful and debilitating injuries. As a result, if you have been injured by an animal, it is a good idea to seek appropriate medical care and ask a personal injury lawyer at a law firm such as Dunbar & Dunbar the questions provided above as soon as possible.