Dog Bite Lawsuits: Why do Owners Lose?
As we’ve discussed in our previous posts, dog owners are almost always held liable for their dog’s actions. However, these significant costs can be deflected with the proper coverage and following these recommendations to ensure proper representation of your dog. In turn, you may be able to reduce or refute your Dog Bite Lawsuit. Here are the most common mistakes that cause dog owners like you to lose court cases involving an incident with their dog.
Not Evaluating the Dog- Simply because your dog bit someone doesn’t mean they are aggressive. Providing a video presentation of your dog’s typical behavior can help to discredit any false claims that he or she is overly aggressive and dangerous. This piece of evidence can be used in opposition of the plaintiff and in some cases, lead to a quick settlement.
Scene Inspection- Failure to properly inspect the dog’s environment can lead to false claims from the plaintiff. For example, if the dog spends most of their time indoors, it is crucial to examine any obvious scratches on doors or window frames, checking to see if water bowl is clean and the leashes are in good condition, determining if a dog bed was provided, and looking for toys in the house. This information can determine how the dog was treated. These factors could point to adverse conditions which could lead to poor behavior.
Using Incorrect Interviewer- While court interviewers may be experienced, it is critical to employ one who is familiar with animal behavior. For example, if a claimant states that the dog acted aggressively, this could be interpreted in a variety of ways. As “aggressive” is a general term, an expert’s point of view is required to assess the actual events appropriately.
Improperly Evaluating Wounds- Ensure any wounds the claimant has are consistent with the story provided. For example, Property Casualty 360 reported a case in which the plaintiff claimed a tenant’s 125 pound pit bull/Rottweiler mix attacked him and that he suffered substantial emotional and physical distress. The claimant also stated that the dog grabbed each of his arms and tore his flesh for minutes at a time. However, his wounds only showed minor scratches and bruising, unlike the expected ecchymosis that is associated with broken blood vessels caused by bite pressure. Disproving his wounds from the story caused an immense reduction in award to the plaintiff- from $300,000 to $19,000.
Although each case should be evaluated by experts, it is possible for owners to lose these cases. In the event you are found liable, the damages and fees can be substantial. Our Canine Liability Policy will provide competitively priced coverage to insure your beloved pooch. For more information contact us today at (855) 534-6495.