Dog Bite Injuries In Connecticut:
What to do When Man’s Best Friend becomes an Enemy
By James A. Welcome
Statistically, there have been over 4.7 million dog bite victims in the United States per year and around 30-35 cases are fatal. The number appears to be rising and the following information is to educate you on what you should do if you have been unfortunately attacked. In the Greater Waterbury, Connecticut area alone, there have been three recent and serious dog bite cases that have been covered by the media. This article is a basic overview for Connecticut residents on dog bite and attacks. If you have been injured, it may be in your best interest to consult with a Personal Injury Attorney to speak about a potential Connecticut insurance claim for compensation for your injuries.
It is common to categorize pit bulls or Rottweilers as the only type attack dogs, but also keep in mind:
– Any dog, treated harshly or trained to attack, may bite a person. Any dog can be turned into a dangerous dog. The owner or handler most often is responsible for making a dog into something dangerous.
– An irresponsible owner or dog handler might create a situation that places another person in danger by a dog, without the dog itself being dangerous.
– Any individual dog may be a good, loving pet, even though its breed is considered to be potentially dangerous. A responsible owner can win the love and respect of a dog, no matter its breed.
In most situations, attacks in Connecticut by dogs are resulted by poor training or insignificant restraint of the dog. It is wise to always be prepared and to never taunt a dog or any animal. If you have been attacked, do the following steps to protect your rights:
1. Seek medical attention. Even if a bite is minor, it may become infected or injuries could be below the surface. Contact the dog’s owner, the police and animal control. Animal control will be able to determine whether or not the dog has rabies and if its shots are up-to-date.
2. If you have been attacked you must report the incident to a state, town or regional animal control officer (ACO) and the police in the town where the attack occurred. Make sure to keep a copy of the reports along with medical records and photographs of your injuries, the dog and the scene as evidence. It may be beneficial to photograph and to keep torn or bloodstained clothing in a bag. This will help show the severity of the attack.
3. You will also want information from the dog owner such as their name, address, telephone number and insurance information. Taking note of the dog’s license number, breed and any special markings is important as well but use your judgment and protect yourself first. Do not contact the owner if you feel it is unsafe to do so.
4. If there are any witnesses, take down their name, address, and telephone number.
Hospitalization may be necessary to recover from a dog attack. An average hospital stay for serious injurycaused by a dog attack is $18,200. Under Connecticut State law, the dog’s owner or keeper is liable for any damage caused by his or her dog unless the damage was caused while the person was trespassing or teasing the dog. Fortunately, the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies may cover the victim’s medical expenses. Generally, dog bite victims are entitled to compensation for damages resulting from the attack. Damages could be physical pain, mental suffering, temporary or permanent disability, scarring, loss of quality-of-life, and counseling. The list goes on and on. Do not settle with an insurance company until you are completely healed. By doing so, you will lose your rights for future compensation if unpredicted medical attention is needed.
We are here to work with you to fight for the compensation you deserve.