Dog Owner Reasonableness in a Dog Bite Case
If you are pursuing a dog bite case, the court will evaluate whether the defendant acted in a reasonable manner in the events leading up to the injury. Below are some of the factors the court will consider during the evaluation.
1. Animal Confinement
Dog owners should take reasonable measures to separate the public from their animals. This looks like putting the dog in its kennel, chaining the dog, or using a leash when out with the dog. Such measures don't mean that the dog won't ever bite anyone. However, at least the owner is taking measures to prevent dog attacks. Contrast such a reasonable dog owner with another owner who doesn't even have a fence around their home and lets their dog run free. Even if dog bites occur in both homes, the court is likely to be harder on the second dog owner.
2. Warning Sign
Warning signs can prevent all dog bites, but they can help in some cases. For one, potential trespassers can keep out of your residence if they know you have a dog. Legitimate visitors can also be extra careful if they know you have a dog. The warning sign also shows that a dog owner is a reasonable person who doesn't want their animal to cause chaos.
3. Dangerous Propensity
A dog with a dangerous propensity will likely bite without provocation. Here are some signs that a dog has a dangerous propensity:
- The dog's breed is known for their viciousness
- The dog has attacked people in the past
- The dog has attacked animals in the past
- The dog barks at and tries to bite others when on a leash
Anyone with such a dog should go the extra mile in keeping people safe from their animal.
4. Legal Violation
Lastly, a dog owner also becomes unreasonable if they violate the law, and the violation leads to a dog bite. Consider an example where local law requires dog owners to have a fence of a certain height. A dog owner who installs a short fence is clearly in violation of the law. If the dog jumps over the fence and attacks another person, then the court is likely to find that the owner's actions were unreasonable. On the other hand, a reasonable dog owner is one who didn't violate any law in the time leading to the dog attack.
Your chances of recovery are minimal if the court determines that the defendant's actions were reasonable. A personal injury attorney can help you convince the court otherwise so that you can get your compensation.