Dog bites affect over 4 million people yearly. In Connecticut, victims who were not trespassing or mistreating the dog may be eligible for compensation.
Many people in East Hartford view dogs as trusted pets and even as "man's best friend." Unfortunately, these animals can still cause serious harm to both their owners and others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 4.5 million Americans suffer from dog bites each year. These attacks can be devastating, resulting in serious medical expenses and other long-term consequences.
The CDC reports that each year, about 885,000 people, or one-fifth of all people who are bitten by dogs, require medical attention for dog bites. In 2012, more than 27,000 people suffered from dog bites that were severe enough to necessitate reconstructive surgery. In addition to initial medical expenses, these people may face ongoing expenses related to health complications, such as infections, as well as other effects of the injury, such as time missed from work.
Dog bite injuries disproportionately affect children; the CDC states that about half of the dog bite victims who require medical attention in a given year are children, and dog bite rates are highest among children between ages five and nine. Statistically, adult males and people who keep dogs in their residences are also at a higher risk. However, when dog owners act negligently, dog bites may affect many people who don't live with dogs.
Connecticut observes a strict dog bite liability law. Dog owners can be held responsible for animal attacks even if they did not previously have good reason to believe that such an attack might occur. State law makes the following provisions:
- A dog owner is not liable if the victim of the attack was mistreating or teasing the dog at the time.
- A dog bite victim who was trespassing when the attack occurred cannot seek compensation from the dog's owner.
- If a dog bite victim is less than seven years old, the law presumes the victim was not trespassing or mistreating the dog; however, the dog's owner has the right to rebut this presumption.
In certain cases, if a child suffers from a dog bite and the parent's own actions or decisions contributed to or caused the injury, the parent may lose the right to seek compensation. However, determining which actions contributed most to the final injury can be difficult.
The statute of limitations for making a dog bite injury claim in Connecticut is three years if the claim is filed against the dog's owner. However, claims against other parties must be filed within the state's general statute of limitations for personal injury cases, which is two years.
Consult with an attorney
Anyone who has suffered from a dog bite injury should consider speaking with an attorney. Based on the circumstances of the attack and the nature of the injury, an attorney can provide advice on the available legal options, including seeking compensation.
Keywords: dog, animal, bite, attack