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Dog Bites Increase in the Summer: Who is Liable?

Dog Bites Increase in the Summer: Who is Liable?

During the warm summer months, children are out of school, and more people are outside at parks, playgrounds, neighborhoods, and other public spaces. It is no wonder that researchers and public health officials have noted an increase in reported cases of dog bites during the summer months, likely due to the increased chance of encountering an aggressive dog. So who is liable if a dog bites you or someone you love?

Generally speaking, the dog’s owner is liable for the injuries caused by the dog. Connecticut law provides that the owner(s) of the dog will be held accountable under a “no-fault” theory. The essence of this theory is that it does not require the victim to prove that the dog’s owner knew that the dog was vicious or the owner was otherwise negligent. The simple fact that the dog inflicted injury is sufficient to win the case. The question of fault is taken out of the equation. On the other hand, this theory will fail if the injured party was trespassing (entering onto the land of another) or committing a crime. The law usually requires that this trespass exception must be a bit more than simple trespass. It should also include some level of provocation of the animal like cornering it, teasing it, or taunting the animal (unless the victim is a child under the age of seven).

In Connecticut, a second theory of liability is that the dog owner was negligent. For example, the defendant may have known that his dog was vicious and failed to take precautions in response to the dangers posed by the dog. Perhaps the dog owner was aware of previous aggression, which may have been a previous attack. These constitute general negligence, and the owner is liable for damages.

Are You the Victim of a Dog Bite? We Can Help

Dog bite injuries can be devastating, leaving permanent physical and psychological scars. If you have been a victim of a dog attack, you should know your rights and determine if the owner of the dog is responsible for your injuries. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.

The Connecticut dog bite attorneys of Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are ready to help you if you’ve been suffered injury from a dog. We understand the life-changing consequences that a dog bite can have on your life. We are ready to fight for you to protect your rights and livelihood. Contact us at 1-800-PERKINS to schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation with us today.


Preventing Dog Bite Accidents and Stopping a Dog Attack

dog biteWhen a dog looks like it is going to attack, it’s a scary moment. If a dog does bite you, it can be easy to put the blame on the dog or the owner, but it may have been your own actions that accidentally incited the animal. Understanding what leads to dog attacks, how to prevent them, and what to do to calm them down or get them to stop attacking can be more helpful in dog bite prevention than relying on an owner that may have control over their dog, but does not have control over environmental factors.

In some cases, an otherwise well-behaved dog might bite. Often, this is because they feel threatened or are confused. With some tips on avoiding dog bites and stopping a dog attack, we can help prevent these accidents as a community.

Steps to Avoid a Dog Bite

Not all dog attacks are avoidable, but the following tips can help alleviate tension and avoid a bite:

  • Do not make eye contact or show your teeth, as a dog may take this as a sign of aggression and go into a defensive mode.
  • Avoid dogs that are mothering a litter.
  • When a dog approaches or comes near you in an aggressive manner, stay calm and do not move until it leaves your space.
  • Do not run away from a dog, as this can trigger an instinct to chase.
  • When an unknown dog approaches, staying rigid and not making eye contact typically ends with a dog simply sniffing you and leaving.
  • If the dog continues to approach in a threatening manner, giving it something to bite as a distraction can give you enough time to get away. A water bottle, purse, or other item on your person works for this tip.

Stopping an Attack

When a dog attacks, it can seem like it’s already done and there is nothing you can do. However, there are some tactics to lessen or stop the attack.

  • Command the dog to sit, stay or leave in a voice of authority. Try to use a deeper, lower tone when doing so.
  • Try to use an item to put between you and the dog, and try to get the dog to bite the item instead. This can be done with your bag or even a jacket, if possible.
  • If you are knocked down, roll into a ball, protecting your neck and face. Often, remaining still will deter the dog from continuing to attack.
  • If you have a jacket, cover the dog’s head and get to higher ground. This can be the roof of a vehicle or a tree.
  • If none of these tactics work, let the dog bite your forearm, which will cause less damage. Using a free hand, gouging their eyes, as awful as it may sound, can stop the attack.

If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Contact our team today to discuss your legal options.


What to Do when you Encounter an Aggressive Dog?

Connecticut Dog Bite Lawyer Jonathan Perkins Some people are dog enthusiasts who can’t see a dog without wanting to pet it. Others amongst us find dogs intimidating. People who are frightened of dogs do whatever they can to avoid them, no matter how friendly a dog may be. Whichever type of person you are, there is always the possibility that one day you will encounter a dog that is unfriendly, or even vicious. We hope this never happens, and want to provide you with valuable information about what to do when you encounter an aggressive dog. If you’ve already been hurt by a dog, then you know just how devastating an animal attack can be and the dog bite lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help you get compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.

Dogs attack for many reasons. Sometimes you may be engaged in an activity that attracts their attention – you might be running by the dog’s property, or riding a bicycle, or maybe you’re a delivery person who has to knock on the door at the dog’s house. No matter what you are doing, unless you are actively tormenting the dog then it is the dog owner’s responsibility to control their animal so that it cannot cause harm.  When the owner is not available to provide you with that protection, your only remedy is to rely on yourself. The first thing you need to do is to stay calm. Though you may be tempted to run, that will only excite an aggressive dog and encourage them to pursue you. Instead, use whatever you have to make yourself appear bigger. Stand up straight, and if you have an object that you can extend to make the space you occupy larger, do so.

Make sure that you do not look the dog directly in the eye. A dog will perceive direct eye contact as a threat. It’s a good idea to turn sideways, as the dog will view this as less confrontational: you can still see the dog in your peripheral vision while providing the dog with less of a target and sending a message that you are not interested in the dog’s space. Remain calm.

If a dog does attack you, the best thing that you can do is hold out something else for the dog to latch on to rather than your body. A sweater or jacket held in your hand is something that a dog is likely to latch onto, and you may be able to tempt them to take it and then back out of the situation. Failing that, remember to protect your most vulnerable parts, including your throat, face and chest. Do not extend your fingers: keep your hands balled into fists. Do not pull away, as that will cause your flesh to tear.

Dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason: most are friendly and do not attack humans. But if you’ve been attacked by a dog you know that the end results can be devastating. For legal representation, contact the attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.


How to Approach a Stray Dog Without Scaring It

 If you are an animal lover, then there are few things that can pull at your heart strings like seeing a dog wandering around, clearly lost and alone. As much as you want to help the dog, whether by returning it to its owner or bringing it to a safe place, it is important that you are smart in the way you approach it in order to avoid scaring it off – or worse, ending up on the receiving end of a nasty bite. Avoiding dog bite injuries is always important, but this is especially true when you are uncertain as to who the dog is owned by, or who would be legally responsible for any injuries you incur as a result of your big-hearted actions.

The first thing that you need to understand is that a stray dog is likely to be defensive. They are frightened, and may be sick or injured. This is likely to make them act in an unpredictable, and possibly aggressive way. You don’t want them to run away and risk being hit by a car or lost further, but you also don’t want them to turn on you. The most effective method of helping is to restrain them, either by creating a barrier or using a leash. If you can trap them in a yard, or use a length of rope with a slip knot to hold onto it, you will find yourself in a much better position to control the animal.

As you are approaching a stray dog, speak softly to it. Do not yell – instead use a slightly higher voice, which dogs tend to interpret as being friendly. You can also help yourself to coax a dog into trusting you by offering them food – especially a food that has a strong odor like bacon, or tuna, or liver. If you are in a vehicle and can entice them into the car, close the door but do not try to get in and drive them somewhere, as they may become either aggressive or panicked. Instead, call for help from the shelter or the local animal control office. The police may be of help too.

Though it may be tempting to simply keep a stray animal that you have found, you need to remember that there may be a frantic owner searching for it. Turn the dog in to local animal shelter. If you want to claim the animal for yourself in the event that an owner is not located, provide the shelter staff with that information. They will call you if no owner is located.

If, in the course of trying to help, you are injured, seek medical attention immediately. This is always true, but especially when you are not certain as to whether a dog has had its shots. If the owner is found and you have incurred medical bills, you may be able to file a claim for compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. The attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help.


Learn Dog Body Language to Avoid Bites

It doesn’t matter how much of an animal lover you are or how much time you’ve spent around dogs, you are always at risk of being the victim of a dog bite. Even dogs that have a reputation for being gentle or friendly can have a bad day and become frightened or aggressive, and that can lead to a serious dog bite injury. One of the best ways to protect yourself against being harmed by this type of unexpected attack is to learn dog body language to avoid bites. The dog bite lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are always here to help you if you have suffered a dog bite injury, but we also want to do everything we can to help you avoid being injured in the first place. Here is some information that we hope will help.

Most people think that the most important thing to look for in a dog’s body language is whether or not their tail is wagging, but the truth is that even a dog that is wagging its tail can bite – in fact, in many cases when a dog is wagging its tail it can be a sign that it is agitated and excited rather than friendly. The top things to look out for when you are approaching a dog – or a dog is approaching you – are the following:

  • A tail that is stiff and extended out or down
  • A tense body
  • Ears that are pulled back flat against the dog’s head
  • A ridged back
  • Being able to see the whites of the dog’s eyes
  • A dog that is licking its lip or flicking its tongue
  • A dog that is yawning
  • A dog that is staring directly at you
  • A dog that is backing away from you

If you see any of these signs it means that you should put space between you and the dog, but when you do so, do it slowly and don’t turn your back on it. If you try running away, the dog is likely to chase you. It is important that you stay calm, don’t scream, and keep still. Do not make direct eye contact, as this is viewed as a thread. Wait until the dog loses interest in you, then back away until you are out of its sight, and if the dog does begin an attack, put something between you and them for them to put into their mouth – it can be your handbag or backpack, a jacket, a chair or trash can. If you are on the ground, curl up into a fetal position and put your hands over your ears. Don’t scream or roll around.

It is also very important that if you have a small child around a family pet, you make sure you look for these signs, particularly yawning, lip licking or seeing the whites of the eyes. Many people make the mistake of forcing a dog to interact with a baby and miss these important signs.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for the medical expenses and other damages that you’ve suffered. Call the dog bite attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today to learn how we can help.

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