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When a Dog Attacks, Who Is Liable Under Connecticut Law?

This article looks at Connecticut liability and negligence laws pertaining to dog attacks.

While dogs are often called man’s best friends, it is an unfortunate fact that sometimes dogs do bite and inflict serious injuries on innocent victims, especially children. Dog bite injuries can be serious and even fatal, with noting that between 1982 and 2014, over 2,100 people were maimed or killed by pit bulls alone. Connecticut has strict liability laws for dog owners that may allow dog bite victims to bring forward a legal case to recover compensation and damages. Understanding how Connecticut’s liability and negligence laws work can help bite victims know what actions to take following their ordeal.

Owner Liability

When a dog injures a person or damages another person’s property, the owner or keeper of that dog can usually be held liable under Connecticut law. As the website for the Connecticut General Assembly points out, the state’s liability statutes are strict and victims need not prove that a dog’s owner or keeper knew that the dog was dangerous or that the owner or keeper was otherwise negligent in order for the owner or keeper to be held liable.

There are, however, important exceptions to Connecticut’s liability statute. For example, a person who is bitten by a dog while trespassing or committing another tort usually cannot pursue a claim against the dog’s owner. Connecticut courts, however, have ruled that simply being on another person’s property is not sufficient to be considered trespassing for the sake of a dog bite liability case. Additionally, if the attack victim had been teasing, abusing or tormenting the dog, then the dog’s owner will typically not be considered liable for the attack. However, any victim who is under 7 years of age is presumed, unless proven otherwise, to have neither been trespassing nor provoking the dog that attacked him or her.

Negligence Cases

Unlike with a statute case, cases brought under a common law negligence action require the plaintiff to prove that the defendant knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous. Common law negligence cases may be useful for holding certain parties liable for a dog attack even if they were neither the owners nor the keepers of the dog. For example, a landlord can be held negligent if he or she knew or should have known about a tenant’s dog’s vicious tendencies and failed to warn the other tenants about the animal. Additionally, even if the landlord instructs a tenant to remove a dangerous dog from the property but then fails to ensure that the dog has indeed been removed, then the landlord may be held liable through a negligence case.

Contact Our Lawyers

Anybody who has been the victim of a dog bite in Connecticut should get in touch with a personal injury attorney immediately. Connecticut has strict liability laws pertaining to dog bites. With the help of an attorney, dog bite victims may be able to recover compensation that can help them cover the expenses that often arise in the aftermath of an attack. Call 203-212-9075 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Dog Bite Frequently Asked Questions

What should you do after a dog bite?

Seek medical attention immediately to care for your injuries. You should also obtain as much documentation of what happened as soon as you can. This includes information like the name of the dog owner, the dog’s license and where the incident happened.

Who can be held liable after a dog attack?

Dog owners in Connecticut can be held liable for injuries and harm caused by their dog as long as the victim was not teasing or tormenting the dog or trespassing on the owner’s property.

Do I have a right to file a claim after being attacked by a dog?

Yes. Victims attacked or injured by another person’s dog may be able to file a legal claim against the dog’s owner and seek compensation for their medical care, lost wages and emotional trauma in some cases.

Can I sue someone if I am hurt at their home?

Property owners are responsible for the condition of their property. Dangerous property conditions must be swiftly addressed to keep those who may be visiting the property safe. Any given property could have security concerns or an area where guests and visitors might be more prone to a fall. Or, homeowners in Connecticut may not have their pets properly secured, leading to one of the most common causes of serious injuries: dog bites.

Whatever the circumstances of the injury you suffered, it is important to consider your options to attempt to recover compensation so that you can pay for medical expenses. In the case of a private homeowner, perhaps all you will need to do is submit a claim against the property owner’s homeowner’s insurance.

You are also allowed to sue a family member or submit a claim against a family member’s insurance policy. For example, you are at your aunt’s house and her dog bites you or you are at your cousin’s house and you fall through the deck. You are allowed to sue family members under Connecticut law in order to recover money to pay for your injuries and medical treatment.