Dave Wattel on Dog Bite Injuries
May 5, 2020
Dogs bites can be from simple abrasions to deep punctures, cuts and lacerations. They can be crushing wounds and even cause fractures. The emotional impact from scarring and fear of being attacked again can be great and long-lasting.
The law mandates that the owner of the dog that bit someone be responsible by way of strict liability. That means the victim of the attack does not need to prove that the dog had vicious propensities or that the owner of the dog was negligent in failing to prevent the attack. The only defense for the dog owner being completely responsible is that the victim was trespassing or provoked the dog leading to the attack.
What if the dog didn’t actually bite the victim, but rather merely knocked the victim over causing harm? Strict liability no longer applies, but rather the victim does have to establish that the owner did or should have known of the vicious propensities and failed to prevent the harm from occurring. And if the victim contributing to the situation, the victim’s claim could be reduced by his/her proportionate fault.
Treatment for dog bite injuries are often times extensive. Stitches, graft, plastic surgery regularly come into play. Despite successful care, the victim almost always is left with some residual scarring that can be embarrassing and even life-altering. From a psychological standpoint it wise for a victim to talk to someone about fear of future attacks, reduced self-esteem and any other mental issues stemming from the attack.
Because the injuries, physical and emotional, can be long-lasting and even lifelong compensation can be significant. Facial scarring often carry with it six-figure settlements and even higher.