While dogs may be our best friends, some dogs can become aggressive and bite someone. Dogs that bite can do it for a number of reasons. Perhaps the dog has always had an aggressive nature and perceives you as an unwanted stranger. Historically, there are certain breeds that have been known to harbor aggression. The Pit Bull breed is a common example.
The dog’s breed is only one factor and doesn’t always mean the dog will be aggressive and prone to biting. You might encounter a dog that has been healthy in the past and free from offensive behavior. However, now the dog has suffered from a health illness such as rabies. Rabies can cause dogs to become disoriented and lash out by biting people. A classic sign of rabies is drooling and foaming of the mouth.
If you are bitten it is imperative that you have your bite checked out at the hospital as soon as possible. Dogs can be a host to several bacterial and viral infections that you can contract such as ring worm. Make sure however, that you remember the type of breed to help a doctor assess the injury and proper treatment. Write down the contact information of the dog’s owner should you need to make a claim later.
The owner is liable for their dog’s actions whether they knew the dog was dangerous or not. Anytime their dog bites someone they are held liable no matter the situation or circumstances.
On the flip side of the coin is to view this from the dog owner’s perspective. Let’s say the dog owner had prior knowledge that their dog may be dangerous or may bite someone. The owner then took protective measures to keep his dog in a secure area. He also had placed “Beware of Dog” signs on his property and has warned others not to approach his dog as the dog may attack. The owner had done all this, but someone didn’t listen or even provoked the dog on purpose.
If the owner has provided these safety precautions they are sometimes not liable due to “contributory negligence”. “Contributory negligence” means that the person who was bitten understood the dangerousness of the animal, but proceeded to place themselves in the dog’s environment anyway. This type of dog bite lawsuit often ends in favor of the dog owner.
If you do file a dog bite lawsuit you can sue for compensation of medical costs incurred, any permanent scarring, pain and suffering, property damage, and affected wages. A vicious dog bite can leave you unable to work for some time and you need a way to recoup your losses.