Over the years, more and more people are enticed to adopt dogs. Who wouldn’t? Dogs are man’s best friend and are loveable creatures, after all. Unfortunately, not all dogs are “human-friendly,” especially if they aren’t properly domesticated or trained.
Getting bitten by a stray dog can seriously put the victim’s health at risk. Dog bites can cause serious infection, scarring, painful wounds, and if you’re unlucky enough, you might contract rabies as well. It’s easy to find liability if a domesticated dog bites you. The owner will automatically be held liable for that.
But what if a stray dog bites you?
If a stray dog has bitten you, you may find yourself wondering, can I even hold anyone liable for this? The short answer is, yes, yes, you can.
After receiving treatment for your injuries, you can seek the assistance of an experienced dog bite lawyers to help you in determining liability for your injury.
The majority of the time, victims can hold their city responsible for stray dog attacks. This is because local authorities from your city are responsible for animal control in your area. Although these instances are very rare, and most of the time, victims end up paying for their medical bills, it is still possible.
If the stray dog has been previously picked up and put in the city animal shelter, but for some reason, the dog escaped, then you have a strong case against your city.
Here are some things you need to ask yourself before pursuing a personal injury claim involving stray dog bites:
1. Was The Dog Reported As Dangerous In Your Area?
Cities are generally responsible for animal control in your area. If someone had already reported the stray dog as “dangerous” but the city did nothing to capture it, then they may be held liable for your injuries if that dog bites you.
2. Where Were You When You Were Bitten?
Were you on private property or public property at the time you were bitten? If you were on private property, then there is a chance that the owner of that property may be liable for your injuries. If it was proven that they were aware of the stray dog’s presence in the area, but they did not warn you, it could be considered negligence. But this can be quite tricky to prove, and it’s also important to note that you need to have the right to be on that property, or they might file a counter lawsuit and sue you for trespassing.
If you were on public property, then the city may be held liable for your injuries. Since the city is by default, responsible for ensuring the safety of its citizens. Having a stray dog on public property can be proof of their negligence in regards to animal control.
3. Does The Stray Dog Actually Have An Owner?
Dog owners abandoning their pets is sadly not uncommon. If proven that the stray dog that bit you had a previous owner that intentionally abandoned the dog or allowed it to run free, they may be held liable to an extent for your injuries.
Once proven that its previous owner abandoned the stray dog, the previous owner may be subject to additional charges, such as animal abandonment and animal abuse.
But what about stray dog keepers? Will they be liable too in case the stray dog they’re feeding attacks another person?
It depends on the definition of legal ownership in your area. Some stray dog keepers may say that they are only feeding stray dogs and they do not own them, arguing that they are not responsible for what the dogs do. If you are bitten by a stray dog that has a dog keeper, you may find yourself wondering if it’s possible to hold the stray dog keeper liable for your injuries.
In California, dog owners are legally described as anyone who owns, possesses, controls, harbors, cares for, or has custody of the animal for at least 15 consecutive days. If you can prove that the dog keeper has been taking care of the stray dog for more than the specified period of time, then you may have a strong case against them.
What kinds of compensation can you get after getting bitten by a stray dog?
Once you have determined who the liable party is for your injury, you can now start thinking about the type of compensation you can receive. Typically, dog bite victims are entitled to receive compensation for the following:
- medical bills
- pain and suffering
- lost income
- any property damage related to the incident, such as broken eyeglasses or a damaged motorcycle; and
- multiple or punitive damages if the owner’s conduct was particularly outrageous.
With the help of an aggressive dog bite lawyers, they can ensure that you will be able to receive the compensation you deserve.
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