March 4, 2024

You love your dog and it loves you back; you’ve worked hard to train and teach it to respect its surroundings and other living things, but we have to remember that although they are now domesticated pets, dogs are descended from wild animals, and their behavior can’t always be predicted. If your dog bites someone, it can cause them injuries of varying severity, but it can be devastating for you as well. If you’re worried what will happen if your dog attacks a passerby, here are the facts you need to know.

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How Common Are Dog Attacks in the United States of America?

Dog attacks are more frequent than you may think. America has a dog population of approximately 80 million, that’s around one dog for every four people, and it witnesses around 4.7 million dog bite attacks per year. These vary greatly in the injuries they cause, but sadly there are approximately 40 fatalities caused by dog bites every year in the United States. In most cases, however, the injuries will be far less serious, whilst still significant, so what happens then?

Who is Responsible for a Dog Bite Attack?

Dog bite laws can vary across the states, but California dog attack laws, for example, state clearly that the responsibility for a dog bite lies solely on the owner of the dog. As a strict statutory liability state, it has been established in court that a dog owner is responsible for their pet from the moment they take ownership of it, even if that has only been a matter of days or even minutes. That’s just one reason that you should take all the necessary steps to keep your dog under control, but if your dog does bite someone, it’s important to seek expert legal help.

What to Do in the Aftermath of a Dog Attack

If your dog has bitten another person, you should be prepared to give them your name, address and insurance details, but do not enter into conversation with them on other matters and never admit fault or seek to blame the other party. While they seek medical help, you should seek the advice of an expert dog bite attorney, as they can make a great difference to what happens next. In the immediate aftermath, you should also confine your dog so that it is kept away from people and other animals and report the incident to the police or other relevant dog control authority.

Are You Always Responsible If Your Dog Attacks Someone?

As we’ve seen, in California you are always responsible if your dog attacks someone, but there may be mitigating circumstances, and an expert dog attack lawyer will be able to advise you on these. This can include if the victim was trespassing on your property, if the dog was provoked, if the dog was with a security guard and following its training, and whether the person bitten was a dog trainer.

The laws relating to dog bites are complex, and the payouts awarded can be large, so it’s important that you seek expert legal help as soon as possible if your dog bites someone. Remember never to accept or apportion blame and keep conversation to a minimum until you’ve sought specialist help and advice from a dog bite attorney.