Dog And Animal Bite - An Overview

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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites per year in the United States, 800,000 of which require medical attention. Children are the most likely victims of dog bites, and most injuries which occur to children occur in the face, head and neck areas. In fact, dog bites represent a greater health problem for children than measles, mumps and whooping cough., combined.

There are some breeds of dogs, such as rottweilers, pit bulls, german shepherds, doberman pincers and great Danes, that are known to be inherently more aggressive or even vicious than other dogs. Nevertheless, any dog, if provoked or frightened enough, may attack. The odds of a dog attacking increase if the dog is rabid, or has been abused or neglected by its owners.

Overall, hospitals around the country collectively report roughly 1,000 emergency visits per due to dog bites. Under the law in many states, the owners of these dogs are held fully responsible, unless the person injured was trespassing, provoking the animal, or in the act of committing a crime. If the person attacked was under the age of seven, regardless of the reason for the attack, the owner is held 100% responsible.

Dogs are not the only animals that bite humans. Other domestic animals such as cats, birds, ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils can bite and cause injury. Farm animals, including goats, sheep, horses, cows, chickens, llamas and alpacas may also attack a human being and bite or otherwise injury them. There may be liability in all of these cases, although the law varies from state to state.

There are several ways to establish liability, and one of these ways is either a primary or secondary law in every state. It is often called the standard rule of negligence. According to this law, if the owner knew of the animal's potential for danger, then that owner is liable for damages caused by the dog bite. In some states, the breed of the dog, and the owner's knowledge of that breed, can satisfy the standard rule of liability. In others, the owners' knowledge of the dog's tendencies and disposition, as well as previous acts of aggression all factor into assessing owner liability under this statute. The premise is that the owner should have controlled a dog that was known to be dangerous.

A few states have what is called the strict liability statute. The only proof needed in strict liability case is that which connect the dog and owner. No other circumstances, including trespassing and provocation, are of importance under this statute. The victim need only to prove which dog did the biting. There are a few states that do not have specific laws for determining liability in a dog bite case. In these states, the burden of proof is on the injured party.

If liability can be proven, the victim may be able to recover medical costs and damages not only for medical costs and the costs associated with time lost from work, but also for pain, mental anxiety, and permanent scarring. The law also allows for punitive damages, which punish the owner for allowing the situation to take place. The owner is then liable for damages, no matter what the circumstance surrounding the bite.

If you have been bitten by a dog or other domestic animal, or if you are the parent of a child who has been bitten by a dog or other domestic animal, it may be advisable to contact a personal injury lawyer to find out if you have a case. There are personal injury lawyers who specialize in dog- and animal-bite cases, so visit the website of the American Bar Association in order to find one in your area.


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