Serving Hartford and Central Connecticut
In the State of Connecticut, dog owners can be held liable when their pets injure another person or cause damage to personal property. While Connecticut dog bite law provides for strict liability against the owner, it is important to retain an attorney to ensure the insurance company pays the full value of the claim and does not find a loophole to avoid liability.
In Hartford, the Law Offices of Andrew J. Cates, LLC offers free dog bite case evaluations to answer your questions and explain how we will fight the insurance companies to ensure you receive the full compensation to which you are entitled.
Dog Owner Liability
In Connecticut a dog’s owner is liable for the injuries suffered when his or her dog bites someone if:
- The dog’s bite resulted in bodily injury or damage to personal property and
- At the time of the attack the victim was not provoking the dog, trespassing, or committing a tort
In cases where the victim of a dog bite is found to have been provoking the dog or trespassing, the owner may have a defense to avoid paying compensation for the injuries.
Connecticut is a Strict Liability State
Connecticut is considered a strict liability state, which means that dog owners are held liable for injuries caused by their dogs, even if the owner claims that he or she had no idea that the dog was prone to violence. This is in contrast to various other states where dog owners may avoid liability by successfully arguing that their dogs had no prior history of attacking others.
It is important to note that the strict liability statute in Connecticut covers injuries not just involving dog bites, but also injuries which arise from a dog knocking a person over, or even injuries sustained when running from an attacking dog.
The law also provides remedy for those whose property is damaged by another person’s dog. Such damage may occur to personal property, such as a fence, or may involve another person’s pets or livestock being harmed.
Common Law Negligence for Dog Bites
If you are injured by a dog, you may also sue under common law negligence. To prevail under common law, the you must demonstrate that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog was vicious. Under the common law, unlike cases brought under the statute, someone other than the dog’s owner or keeper could be liable for a dog bite under certain circumstances.
For instance, the Connecticut Supreme Court has held recently that a landlord could be liable for a bite by a tenant’s dog if the landlord was aware of the dog’s vicious tendencies and did not adequately act to alleviate the known danger.
Dog Owner Defenses
In Connecticut there are two general defenses that a dog’s owner can employ in order to negate liability in a dog bite case: (1) If the dog’s owner can prove that the victim was provoking the dog at the time of the attack, or (2) if the victim was trespassing when the attack occurred.
Statute of Limitations
In Connecticut, dog bite cases are classified as personal injury, and are therefore held to the personal injury statute of limitations. A statute of limitation sets a time frame after an injury in which the victim can file suit. If the victim files suit after the statute of limitations time frame has expired his or her case will generally not be heard by the court. In Connecticut, the statute of limitations against a dog’s owner is two years from the date of injury.
What to do if You Have Been Attacked by a Dog
If you have been attacked by dog, you should:
- Immediately seek medical attention
- Document all injuries with photo and/or video
- As soon as possible write down or record a statement of exactly what happened
- Preserve all evidence
- Contact our office immediately for assistance in dealing with the dog’s owners, law enforcement, insurance companies, and the court system, if necessary.
You should never personally speak to an insurance adjuster after suffering injuries in a dog attack. Instead, contact our offices immediately and we will deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
If you have been injured in a Connecticut dog attack, call our office today toll free at (800) 330-4988 or (860) 522-7044, or contact us online.