When It Looks Like a Pet Owner is Liable for Your Injuries
You’ve heard the expression that “kids will be kids.” In a sense, it means that children are too young to understand the consequences of their actions. If something goes wrong, you may look to hold the parents responsible. So what about cats, dogs, and other animals? Just how liable is the pet owner when an animal attacks you?
Animals can cause all kinds of harm. Bites alone account for a number of injuries. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites in any given year. And that’s not all. Cat bites are responsible for 66,000 visits to emergency rooms each year. In the United States alone, estimates show that felines account for 400,000 bites into humans.
Cats and dogs aren’t the only pets lashing out. Despite pleas from the Humane Society, exotic pets reside in some homes. Presumably, most pet snakes are kept in tanks. Notwithstanding, released or escaped pet pythons, boa constrictors, and anacondas have attacked humans. Victims are either sickened or die as a result.
More than Animal Bites
At any rate, animal bites aren’t the only concern when it comes to pets. Consider this scenario: You are standing in the park and taking in the sights. Through the corner of your eye, you notice a large dog slip through its collar and leave the leash behind.
The pet owner immediately runs after the dog, which is darting in your direction. You don’t have enough time even to brace yourself. The Mastiff bumps into your knees and slams you to the ground. As the dog continues on to give chase, you realize you can’t get up. Afterward, you learn that you broke your ankle as a result of the fall.
So, should the pet owner be responsible for your injuries? Of course, it will be important for you to get as many details as possible about the offending animal and its owner. You should also look into filing a police report and securing witness names.
There are legal requirements when it comes to pursuing a case against a pet owner. For example, one of the important principles comes from Jannuzzelli v. Wilkens, 385 A. 2d 322 – NJ: Appellate Div. 1978. In that matter, it was up to the injury victim to prove that the pet owner “knew or should have known their dog would have acted in a way that would cause harm to another.”
So far, we’ve talked about dogs, cats, and exotic pets. What if you are injured while taking horseback lessons? More than likely, you will have been asked to sign a release. However, the circumstances of your accident should still be reviewed with an experienced personal injury attorney.