Dogs are wonderful companions that provide comfort, friendship, and security to many people in Bridgeport and throughout the state. However, with the benefits of owning a dog comes responsibility. Citizens in Bridgeport are strictly liable for the actions of their dogs. Whenever their dog acts in a way that causes physical harm or property damage to another individual, the dog’s owner retains civil liability.
Unlike many other states that have enacted one-bite rules that allow owners of dogs with no previous history of violence to avoid liability, Connecticut state law holds dog owners responsible in most circumstances. These bites can result in severe injuries ranging from cuts and puncture wounds, to broken bones and sepsis. A Bridgeport dog bite attorney could work with clients to evaluate their case, identify potential defendants, and demand maximum compensation. Ready to work with a skilled and reliable injury lawyer? Then, Bring on Bert!
How Dog Bites Are Handled Under Connecticut State Law
State laws are especially strict when it comes to people controlling their animals. Specifically, Connecticut General Statute § 22-357 states that the owners of all dogs that bite a person in a public or a private location where the bitten individual has permission to be are liable for any ensuing damages. The statute also asserts that the owner is liable regardless of the dog’s history of violence. This is in direct opposition to states that allow owners to avoid liability if it is the dog’s first offense.
However, a dog bite case is rarely this simple. Dog owners can avoid liability if the bite happens on private property where the victim of the attack did not have permission to be there.
Owners may also limit their liability by arguing that the individual bitten was partially responsible for the attack. People who tease, annoy, or even attack the dog first may take the blame for the incident. Defendant dog owners can raise this defense during the trial, and a jury can order the owner to pay only a portion of the demanded damages if the jury believes that the victim was partially responsible for the attack.
All dog bite injury cases must also satisfy the state of Connecticut’s statute of limitations. This is a law that controls when a person can file a case in court. Most people will have no more than three years after suffering a dog bite to demand compensation from the canine’s owners. Thus, it is crucial to get in touch with a seasoned dog bite injury attorney in Bridgeport, like Bert McDowell, to ensure a claim is filed properly and within the legal requirements.
Identifying the Defendant
In most personal injury cases, the defendant is easy to identify. In car accidents, for example, the defendant is the individual driving the at-fault vehicle. In some dog bite cases, this analysis is also simple. If a dog owner is walking their dog in a public park when the bite occurs, the dog owner is the defendant.
The situation can become more complex when the incident happens on private property not owned by the dog’s master. This commonly occurs in apartment complexes. If a person invites a guest into their apartment and a bite occurs, the dog’s owner is still liable. However, if the apartment’s owner knew that there was a dog in the apartment that had a tendency to bite people and did not demand that the owner move out, the landlord may also be considered negligent, and thus, liable.
An experienced Bridgeport dog bite lawyer can examine the circumstances of a specific case to determine the proper defendants and hold them responsible for their actions.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Bridgeport Dog Bite Lawyer at Our Firm
Dog bite cases can be deceptively complex. Even though the state’s laws hold dog owners strictly liable for the majority of attacks, the law also allows those owners to raise defenses in court that can limit their liability or dismiss a claim altogether. This is an unfortunate outcome for plaintiffs with serious injuries that can include broken bones, scarring, torn tendons, and infections.
Fortunately, a diligent attorney at Bert McDowell Injury Law can help. They examine the case from every angle to gather relevant evidence, file an effective complaint, and combat any defenses raised by the dog’s owner in court.
Dog owners should be responsible for the actions of their animals. Allow a Bridgeport dog bite attorney to seek justice in your case. Call now to learn more.