Dogs are known as a man’s best friend worldwide. However, unfortunately, not all dogs are friendly, and there are cases in which they attack people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States yearly, with about 885,000 requiring medical attention. The consequences of a dog attack may vary from minor injuries to life-threatening situations. But who is responsible for dog attacks?
Dog Owners’ Liability
In the United States, dog owners are responsible for controlling their pets' behavior. They must ensure that their dogs are not potentially threatening public safety. According to the law, the owner is liable if a dog attacks someone. This means that the owner is responsible for any harm caused by their dog, regardless of whether or not they knew of the dog’s tendency to be aggressive. Furthermore, in some states, dog owners must have liability insurance to cover any damages or injuries the dog might cause.
Factors Affecting Liability
Although dog owners are strictly liable for their dog’s attacks, some exceptions and factors affect the liability. For instance, if the injured party was trespassing on the owner’s property or provoking the dog, the dog’s owner might not be liable. Additionally, if the dog is working for the police or military, the owners might have limited liability. Another example is if someone else who is not the dog's owner was responsible for the attack. Every case has unique circumstances that might affect the owner’s liability.
The Role of City and State Governments
City and state governments also have a role in dog attacks. They create and enforce laws to ensure dog owners comply with the regulations and protect the public. For example, most states have laws that require dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash in public places. Additionally, some states have breed-specific legislation that bans specific breeds, such as pit bulls, in certain areas. These laws may not only protect the public from dog attacks but also protect the dogs from cruelty and neglect.
What to Do if You’re the Victim of a Dog Attack
If you’re the victim of a dog attack, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself and seek justice:
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if the injury seems minor.
- Identify who the dog owner is and collect the owner’s contact information.
- Report the incident to the appropriate city or state authorities, ensuring the dog is quarantined.
- Seek legal advice from a personal injury attorney specializing in dog bite cases.
Houston Dog Bite Lawyers
Dog attacks can have far-reaching consequences, both physically and emotionally. Understanding the complexities of responsibility is crucial for victims seeking justice and compensation. If you or a loved one has been a dog attack victim, contact Goldenzweig Law Group, PPLC, today at (713) 609-1930 for a free consultation. We are here to help you through this difficult time.