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What are Connecticut residents' rights in cases of animal bites?

Under Connecticut law, owners of animals are held strictly liable if their pets cause any personal injury to a person who is lawfully on their property. It is not only animal bites that can cause injuries; other instances can cause injury as well. For example, if a large dog jumps onto someone, causing that person to fall and suffer a fractured bone, the dog's owner could be held liable for those injuries. However, if that person had teased, tormented or abused the dog, the owner of the dog may not be held accountable.

Any victim of a dog bite will want to seek medical care immediately and report the incident to authorities. The owner of the animal is responsible for proving that the dog's rabies injections are current. If not, the animal must stay at the veterinarian for the 14-day incubation period at the costs of the pet owner.

If a pet that caused injuries is owned by a child, the parents or guardian will be held liable, and if it is owned by more than one person, such as a husband and wife, both can be held responsible. In cases of severe injuries, like facial bites that need extensive medical care including corrective or plastic surgery, victims may want to delay filing a personal injury claim until there is a clear and comprehensive indication of the damages suffered. The statute of limitations for such personal injury claims in Connecticut is three years, and after that period, recovery of damages may not be pursued.

Medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and lost income may be included in documented damage claims when a personal injury lawsuit is filed by a victim of animal bites. However, in many cases, proving liability can be difficult, and the help of an experienced personal injury attorney may be invaluable. A lawyer can assess the circumstances and work on building a strong case to present in a Connecticut civil court.

Source: FindLaw, "Hartford Dog Bites: The Basics", Accessed on June 27, 2016

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