Protecting Victims of Dog Attacks in Connecticut

Dogs are the second most popular pet in the United States and are popularly referred to as “man’s best friend.” Nonetheless, even friendly dogs can become aggressive, often with no warning. If you’ve been injured in a dog attack, you should consider whether you have a right to compensation. Pursuing compensation for an animal attack can be difficult if you do not know all of the laws surrounding these claims.

Our Connecticut dog bite lawyer at Tehrani Law Group would be happy to meet to discuss your case. We understand the complexities of these claims and how to maximize compensation for our clients. It’s crucial that you take the time to understand all of your options with these claims and the best route to take when pursuing compensation.

Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Severe

Dogs have powerful jaws and sharp teeth, so it’s no surprise that they can cause serious injuries when they clamp onto a person’s limb. Even worse, dogs have many germs in their mouths which can transfer to a victim’s bloodstream, leading to serious infection. Some of the more common injuries include:

  • Fractures
  • Nerve damage
  • Puncture wounds
  • Infections
  • Scarring
  • Facial injuries
  • Disfigurement

There is also a psychological component to many dog attacks. Victims report suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and irritability. Some victims need psychological counseling to feel comfortable around dogs again, with some unfortunately never overcoming their fears.

Dog Attack Victims Have a Right to Compensation

Connecticut has passed a dog bite statute, located in Section 22-357. It states that a dog’s owner or keeper is liable for damage to any person or property, unless the person injured was trespassing, committing a tort (like assault), or abusing/teasing the dog.

This is a strict liability statute. In some states, an owner can’t be responsible unless the dog has bitten a person before. But that’s not the law in Connecticut. If you are legally on the property and not provoking the dog, you can sue for compensation to cover your injuries.

Unsurprisingly, many owners will allege you were teasing or tormenting the animal. This might include hitting him, pulling his tail, or trying to alarm the dog. Remember that provocation might be accidental. For example, you could have stepped through the door and accidentally onto the animal’s tail.

Dangerous Dog Breeds

Although any dog could bite, some breeds are more dangerous than others. Generally, larger dogs are more likely to maul and seriously injure a person, though even small dogs can spread deadly infections.

According to an article in Forbes, the most dangerous breeds include:

  • Pit bulls. This breed killed 284 people between 2005 and 2017. That represents 2 out of 3 dog fatalities, even though only 6.5% of dogs were pit bulls. Pit bulls can also cause serious but non-fatal injuries.
  • Rottweilers. These dogs killed 45 people in the same period.
  • German Shepherds. This breed was responsible for 20 fatal accidents.
  • Labrador Retrievers. These dogs were responsible for 9 fatal attacks.

Forbes listed the following as dangerous dog breeds along side the four listed above:

  • Doberman
  • Chow Chow
  • Husky
  • Bullmastiff
  • Akita

Connecticut Leash Laws

Owners must have control of their animals when off their property. This means you must have your dog leashed in public, including the sidewalk, parks, or parking lots. You can face a fine if your animal is not leashed, as this is an infraction under the law.

Furthermore, you can’t let your dog roam on someone else’s property without their permission. This might mean keeping your dog inside or leashing him outside.

Penalties increase for letting a vicious dog roam. If this is your second violation in a year, you can be fined $1,000 and jailed for up to 6 months if you recklessly or intentionally let your dog roam and it bites someone. As an example, your dog might have bitten someone 7 months ago. Still, you let him run through the park unleashed, whereupon it bites a second person. 

Dog Bite Statistics

Dog bites are very common and expensive:

  • Roughly 4.5 million dog bites happen each year. This works out to a 1 in 75 chance of being bitten by a dog.
  • You have about a 1 in 118,776 chance of dying from a dog bite.
  • Roughly 885,000 dog bites require medical attention, and around 344,000 require a trip to the emergency room.
  • Around 9,455 people required extended hospitalization due to a dog bite.
  • The average dog bite settlement for 2021 was $49,025. This is only an average, and your settlement could be more or less depending on your injuries.

Deadlines for Bringing a Lawsuit

You must file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations. In most cases, this is three years from the date of the dog attack. However, if a loved one died, you probably only have two years to sue from the date of the death. In any event, contact an attorney quickly.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

Dog attacks are scary experiences. Many people are shocked after being bitten, especially if they know the animal. There are certain steps you should take to protect your health.

  1. First, you should stop the bleeding. The dog’s teeth might have shredded or torn a vein, which might bleed unless you apply pressure on the wound using a clean cloth.
  2. Next, you can clean a shallow dog bite using warm water and soap. If the bleeding is too profuse, however, you should call an ambulance or get to the hospital.
  3. Have someone try to document the attack. This might mean getting a picture of the animal or tracking it to its home. At a minimum, identify the color and breed of the animal and the direction it took off after the attack.
  4. Also, remember to call animal control or the police. Under Connecticut law, they will take possession of the animal.

How to Make a Claim for Compensation

The key will be to identify the animal that bit you. If you are on someone’s property, that might be easy, since the dog probably lives there. But if you are bitten by an animal roaming in public, then identifying the owner is probably harder. Animal control can track down the animal and the owner, which is why it is vital to call.

Our clients can receive compensation for losses stemming from the dog bite. These can include medical bills, which might be substantial. Someone with a bad infection might be hospitalized for weeks. A person with facial mauling might need reconstructive surgery.

Our legal team can helpfully gather evidence to establish what happened. If the owner claims you were harassing the animal, we can carefully document your version of events.

Connect With Our Connecticut Dog Bite Lawyer Today

Our founding attorney, Payman Tehrani, Esq., has settled many cases and is ready to meet for a free consultation to go over your dog bite case. Please contact us today to schedule a time or call our firm today at (860) 467-1305.