Dog bite cases cause extremely painful physical and emotional injuries. The scarring is usually permanent on the skin and in the victim’s mind. I handle cases involving injuries caused by dogs both from biting and from jumping onto someone and knocking them down. Liability is usually an “open and shut” issue, as dog bite cases fall under the doctrine of strict liability, as regards the owner of the dog; that is, if you are injured, it’s the owner’s fault. HOWEVER, there are some very important exceptions to this rule. You will NOT recover if you were trespassing when you were bitten or if you were teasing and/or tormenting the dog when you were bitten.
The liability standard is much different when dealing with the owner of a property where the dog is kept when that person is not the actual dog owner (ie. the landlord of an apartment building where the dog and its owner live). In this case, you must prove the landlord was a “keeper” of the dog. Part of that burden includes proving that the landlord not only knew that the dog was being kept in her building but also she knew of the dog’s “vicious propensities”.
Recent examples of dog bite settlements:
A 14 year old boy received a 1/2 inch laceration on his face after being snapped at by his neighbor’s dog-$115,000.
A woman was knocked down by a dog which had jumped up on her while she was walking her own dog. The result was a back injury-$67,000.