An estimated 44 percent of Americans own dogs and of those who don’t own dogs, 70 percent consider themselves a “dog person”.
There’s a reason dogs have been called our best friends. Dogs are bright, loving, and are loyal companions. I personally don’t own a dog (unlike Matthew Willens who adores his boxer) but I would definitely consider myself a dog person. What happens though when our best friends turn on us?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Of those, almost a million require medical attention for dog-bite related injuries. Children are especially vulnerable and account for close to 500,000 of those who receive medical attention as a result of a dog bite each year. So while dogs are incredible animals, they certainly are capable, whether intentionally or not, of causing some serious injuries. It is important that you seek immediate medical attention when faced with injuries because of a dog bite. It is also vital, if you have children, to educate them on the importance of immediately reporting any dog-bite incidents to an adult.
Even “good” dogs bite.
In the past, dog-bite victims found it difficult to receive compensation for their injuries. These victims were required to show that the “animal had a mischievous propensity to inflict such injuries and the owner had knowledge of that propensity.” In other words, the victim needed to show that this was a bad dog and that the owner knew he was a bad dog. Since the passage of the Animal Control Act, the legislatures dropped the need to show any prior acts by a dog or even that the owner had knowledge that his dog had the potential to act in such a way.
When the dog’s owner is liable
The Animal Control Act provides that a victim may recover for their injuries when the victim was not provocative, was peaceable and had the legal right to be where they were when the injury occurred. So as long as the dog-bite victim did not provoke the incident (for example by throwing rocks at the dog) and the victim was not trespassing, then that victim should be lawfully compensated for the injuries they suffered and the expenses they incurred.