Dog bites can be gruesome and even fatal, especially when children or the elderly are the victims. Harmful dog bites occur most often from pets of family members and friends, on private property where the owner was either negligent or did not perceive a threat. Others occur in public places when owners negligently fail to maintain control of dogs. If you or a loved one has injuries from a dog bite in Bridgeport, explore your rights with help from our Bridgeport dog bite attorneys.
Connecticut and Bridgeport Dog Laws
Even when an animal causes your injuries, a human is likely responsible. Unless the dog is a stray, it will have an owner, possessor, or handler legally responsible for controlling it. This person must adhere to state and local laws regarding the leashing and control of dogs. Failure to obey the law or use reasonable care, resulting in a dog bite, can lead to liability for resultant damages. Here are the most important dog-related laws in the state and in Bridgeport:
- Dog bite statute. Connecticut’s dog bite statute holds the pet’s owner or keeper liable for injuries the dog causes to other people or property. The state has a strict liability statute, which means the owner will be liable regardless of whether he or she was negligent. The victim may recover using the dog bite statute or the common law of negligence.
- Provisions of the law. If two or more dogs cause harm at the same time, each owner will be jointly and severally liable for damages. Each owner will have to pay the entire amount of the victim’s damages. Liability will not apply if the victim provoked the attack or was committing (or attempting to commit) a crime at the time of the bite.
- Pet control laws. In Connecticut, owners may not allow dogs to roam freely on someone else’s land or public areas. Owners with vicious dogs are subject to fines of up to $1,000 if they roam freely and cause harms. There are areas where the law allows off-leash dogs in Bridgeport, such as at designated dog parks. Owners must obey local laws.
Connecticut’s dog bite laws work in the favor of victims. A victim does not bear the burden of proving an owner’s negligence, as is the case in states that abide by “one bite” rules. In one-bite states, dog owners only have to pay for damages if the dog had a history of aggression or if the owner reasonably should have known of the animal’s dangerous propensities. In Connecticut, a victim does not have to prove anything other than the dog caused the injuries and that the defendant owned or cared for the dog at the time. There is no need to prove negligence or misconduct.
Help with Your Dog Bite Claim
To recover your damages from a dog’s owner, you may need to file an official claim with the civil court system. While responding police may press charges against a dog’s owner for broken laws, it is up to you to pursue financial compensation through the civil court system. Learn your potential grounds for filing a claim with help from a personal injury lawyer in Bridgeport. The dog bite attorneys at Harlow, Friedman & Adams, P.C., understand local laws and can help you bring a claim against the dog’s owner or possessor. Contact us today.