There are many aspects to premises liability law in Connecticut. As this blog has discussed, various negligent behavior by owners of property that cause injury to people on that premises may make the landowner financially responsible for the damage that has been done. What kind of duty a land owner has is often dictated by the kind of status the injured party had, either as an invitee, licensee or trespasser. In these types of cases whether the owner of the premises breached his or her duty is an important part of the case.
However, there is a type of case that many people might not think about when it comes to premises liability: dog bites. Although for many Americans, our pets are part of our families, the law treats dogs as the property of the owner. Thus, the owner of a dog may be liable for harm done by the animal to another person. In Connecticut, unlike many other types of premises liability cases, many times damage done by a dog bite is a ‘strict liability‘ matter, which means the owner might be responsible regardless of whether he or she was ‘at fault.’
Basically, the Connecticut dog bite statute makes an owner of the animal liable for damages the dog does to people or property, even if the dog had never bitten before, and the owner didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ at the time the incident occurred. The exception to this rule is a bite suffered by an individual while that person was committing a trespass on the owner’s property, or the injured individual was teasing, abusing or tormenting the animal.
Dog bites can do quite a bit of damage to a human being, and children are especially vulnerable. The medical costs and emotional and physical scarring that accompany such an incident can be significant, and victims may be entitled to be compensated by the owner. Whether a case like this should be handled under the strict liability statute or a negligence theory may be complicated, and there are court cases interpreting the exceptions to the liability law. Because of this, Connecticut residents who have suffered such injuries may wish to consider contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer.