Dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for more than a third of all homeowners liability claim dollars in 2016, costing U.S. consumers over $600 million. The number of dog bite claims rose by 18% in 2016 to 18,123 claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually, resulting in an estimated 800,000 injuries that require medical attention. More than 50 percent of dog bites occur on the dog owner’s property
National Dog Bite Prevention Week® is an annual event held the 2nd week in April that is designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a serious public health issue.
Even dogs that are normally docile can bite when they are frightened, defending their liter, owners or food. However, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent your dog from biting anyone in the first place. The most dangerous dogs are those that fall victim to human inadequacies such as poor training, negligent ownership and breeding practices that promote viciousness.
If you have concerns about your pet’s behavior, your first stop should be your animal’s veterinarian, according to Dr. Melissa Bain, AVMA member and specialist in animal behavior. They can advise you as to whether there is a medical element for which medication may be an appropriate piece of an integrated treatment program; and whether or not a referral to a behavior specialist is needed.
Dog Owner Liability (According to the Insurance Information Institute)
Dog owners are liable for any injuries their pets cause in the following instances: if the owner knew the dog had a tendency to cause that kind of injury; if a state statute makes the owner liable, whether or not the owner knew the dog had a tendency to cause that kind of injury; or if the injury was caused by unreasonable carelessness on the part of the owner.
There are three kinds of law that impose liability on owners:
– Dog-bite statute: The dog owner is automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes, even without provocation.
– “One-bite” rule: In some states, the owner is not held liable for the first bite the dog inflicts. Once an animal has demonstrated vicious behavior, such as biting or otherwise displaying a “vicious propensity”, the owner can be held liable. Some states have moved away from the one-bite rule and hold owners responsible for any injury, regardless of whether the animal has previously bitten someone.
– Negligence laws: The dog owner is liable if the injury occurred because the dog owner was unreasonably careless (negligent) in controlling the dog.
A negligent pet owner can put everyone in the vicinity at risk.
If you have been injured by a dog bite in Lake Charles that could have been prevented by a responsible owner, you may pursue legal action in court with the help of a Lake Charles dog bite attorney. Call our Lake Charles legal team of N. Craig Richardson at (337) 381-5349 today to learn more about how a personal injury attorney may work to protect your rights and interests.