Beebe and O'Neil

What damages can be collected for dog bites?

People who have suffered dog bite injuries in Connecticut may wonder if they are able to sue the dog's owners, and if so, what damages they may be able to recover. Under the state's strict liability statute, a dog owner may be held liable for damages even if he or she had no reason to believe that the dog had a propensity to attack others or had never bitten another person before. Moreover, injured victims do not need to prove negligence under this statute.

Connecticut law holds dog owners responsible for the damages caused to another's property or person by their dogs. If more than one dog is involved, the owners of both animals may be held jointly responsible, meaning they will each have responsibility to pay the full judgment amount in damages. In order to prove that an owner was negligent, a victim must be able to prove that the owner had previously known or was aware that his or her dog was vicious and failed to remedy the situation.

Depending on the severity of the injuries, damages in dog bite cases could include several things. For instance, a victim may recover medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost income from missing work in personal injury cases. In property damage cases, people may be able to recover the expenses to repair the property destroyed by the dog. Additionally, in particularly egregious cases, plaintiffs may be able to recover punitive damages as well. Damages may not be available if the defendant dog owner is able to prove that the plaintiff caused the attack through provoking the dog, however.

In cases in which a dog attacks a person, causing serious injuries, victims may be able to sue and recover for the costs they have incurred. A personal injury attorney might look at the individual facts of a case to determine what damages a victim may pursue since each situation is unique.

Source FindLaw, "Dog Bites and Animal Attack Overview"

Source: State of Connecticut General Assembly, "Liability for Dog Bites", James Orlando, October 01, 2014

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