Court cases that involve dog bites are rare, but often necessary as there are national laws that exist to protect the victim of dog bite incidents. Where you are the victim of a dog bite incident, the law will require you to prove that the owner of the dog is liable for the injuries you have sustained. If an incident has occurred and you must appear in court to prove liability, you will have to present evidence to establish that you did not in any way provoke the dog attack, that you did not trespass immediately prior to the incident, that the dog was predisposed to aggression and to attack people and that the dog was not designated as a police dog or military dog at the time of the incident.
First things first; if you are bitten by a dog, you should immediately call 911 for medical assistance. If you are examined by a physician, you should later get copies of all of your medical records and medical bills. These documents will be needed to prove the damages portion of your claim against the owner of the dog. Once you have called 911 a police officer will likely be called to investigate the incident. You should attempt to obtain a copy of the report drafted by the officer. This report can be very helpful because it will list the name and addresses of all the involved parties as well as many of the key facts surrounding the incident, including insurance information.
It is also beneficial to contact the local department of animal control to request that they investigate the incident. The animal control representative will investigate the dog and can order the dog to undergo tests, issue a citation and fine to the dog owner, order that the dog is restrained in some way, and if necessary, have the dog put down or euthanized to protect the public. If you can, try to find out the breed of the dog, take photos of the dog in the yard where it lives, and any fencing on the property.
One thing to remember; the owners of police dogs and military dogs are usually immune from civil liability for the acts of the animal. Try to rule out this possibility by ascertaining whether or not the dog is used for police or military function. The report by the police or animal control might be helpful in this regard.
Assuming that the owner is not immune from liability, continue to gather information to support your claim. This might include writing your own statement of what happened along with the statements of any witnesses to the incident. In addition, consider interviewing neighbors to the dog owner to see if they have any information regarding the dog’s aggressive propensities. Lastly, if the dog damaged the clothes you were wearing at the time of the attack, keep them in a safe place so that you might be able to use them in the future as evidence in the case.
If you or someone you know was injured in a dog bite accident or any other type of accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Connecticut's injury and accident law experts at Carter Mario are willing and able to fight for your claim.