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What Are the Legal Rights of Child Who Suffers Dog Bite Injuries?

By Scott A. Marks, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


With dog ownership comes responsibility and in some instances liabilty for dog bite related injuries to children. Every year thousands of children are the unfortunate victims of serious personal injuries resulting from dog bites and dog attacks. Whether the dog is a large, aggressive bred dog or now, a dog bite incident can have devastating and life altering effects on a small child. In some instances, the child even tragically dies as a result of a dog bite, attack, or mauling. Some dog bite incidents involve a family dog while others involve stray dogs. Either way, the aftermath of serious dog bite attack can be quite difficult for the child and the parents.

The liability for a dog bite attack depends on the State and local laws for the jurisdiction where the dog bite occured. Laws can vary State to State as follows:

Strict Liability – Some states have Strict Liability laws in place. This means that the dog owner is liable for a dog bite regardless of the dog’s past history of being a docile and friendly dog. If a dog bite takes place, the owner is liable for the dog bite related injuries unless the incident falls under exceptions that are placed in these laws. For instance, there may be an exception in the Strict Liability laws if the dog bite victim is a trespasser.

One Bite Requirement Rule – Some jurisdictions require that the dog have at least one prior incident of aggression or a dog bite before imposing liability or responsibilty for a dog bite injury.

Negligence. Some jurisdcitions require that there be a showing that the dog owner was negligent or careless in the handling of the dog and that the dog owner had notice or knowledge prior to the incident that the dog may be a danger to others including children.

Since laws pertaining to dog bite and leash laws vary from State to State and even County to County, it is important to read and review the applicable laws and regulations in place when dealing with the aftermath and pressures of a dog bite injury especially when a child is involved. A Child Injury Lawyer can help parents review the applicable laws, insurance coverage, and other issues that arise with this claims and cases.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Dog Bite Injuries, Homeowner’s Insurance, and other topics. Get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

In Lemon Grove, California, a tragic death related to a dog bite / attack was reported. The child was only 8 months old at the time of the attack. Police and Animal Control are involved in the investigation. See Investigation Into Death of 8 Month Old Boy in California.

Dog owners should use their best efforts to maintain control of a dog by the use of fencing, leashes, electronic collars, and other devices. Yes, a person has the right to own a dog, but the person also has the responsibility to maintain proper control of the dog especially around children.

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