What Are Your Responsibilities If Your Dog Hurts Someone?

Out of all the animal companions in the world, a dog’s friendship is unequal. With their emotional intelligence, these furballs can become sensitive creatures who can hold deep loyalty to their owners. More so when their owner provided for their needs and wants to nurture how grateful they are for everything you did for them.

However, while there are many good dog owners, it’s impossible for there to be no bad owners. After all, not everyone has the same priorities running inside their heads. Whereas good owners are much more mindful of their pet’s physical and mental wellbeing, bad owners tend to neglect their dog’s behavior, not knowing it’s a crucial factor that ensures its safety and those of the people around them.

Why A Dog Would Hurt People?

Since dogs are capable of some semblance of sentience, they can construct thoughts of their own that can easily affect their entire behavior toward their owner, even other people. So, if they’re surrounded by positivity their whole life, they’re bound to respond with their share of eagerness for everyone around them, maybe even more. Going along with that logic, if the people they’re with are unsavory and cruel, it’s only a matter of time before the dog decides to retaliate so it can defend itself.

Other than self-defense, dogs can also feel a myriad of emotions. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger—whatever base emotion in existence is most likely felt by them already. However, just like any sentient being, there may come a time when they get overstimulated. Once that happens, they might have the sudden urge to lash out unprovoked.

For example, you and your dog are happy chasing each other. Because of how eager it is to play, it could get too excited and bite you hard instead of a playful nip. Another situation is a common behavior among rescue dogs that came from abusive households that even startling them might get you mauled.

Health conditions can also provoke your dog to bite someone. Because although they’re intelligent creatures, they’re still limited from doing the things humans can do, primarily concrete speech. Therefore, the only way they can express pain is by crying or biting anyone that gets close so that they keep their distance.

With so many reasons behind dog bites, it only makes sense for everyone to be wary around dogs, especially dog owners. That’s why multiple law firms have already made a post for owning dogs in their respective states. Because as adorable as dogs are, underestimating them would be an error you might bring with you for life.

Regardless, it’s almost impossible to avoid accidents with your dog. Considering how unpredictable a dog’s behavior is, you might find them hurting someone when you least expected them to be. Whether or not that ever happens, it’s better to prepare so you know what to do just in case, especially if your dog’s the one who hurt someone.

1. Ensuring The Victim’s Safety

Dog bites are no joking matter. Because as cute as they are, dogs still bear primal instincts deep down. Even the most even-tempered dogs are still susceptible to these instincts. And once that happens, their victims are bound to get severely wounded by it. But those who are unfamiliar with dogs might be confused over what the fuss is all about. After all, if a human bites another human, there’s nothing but an ache left behind. So, what makes dog bites any different?

Just like with other animals, getting bitten by one is extremely dangerous, even when they’re domesticated. Since they use their mouths nearly everywhere, it’s easy to say that your pet’s mouth is the last thing you’ll call ‘hygienic,’ even when you regularly brush their teeth. Because of this, animals can easily transmit diseases that are detrimental to one’s health. So, even when your dog did it out of self-defense or as a knee-jerk response, it doesn’t stop it from being harmful.

Since you’re present at the crime scene, the victim’s life will be in your hands. Otherwise, there’s a likely chance they might die the longer their dog bite goes unchecked. Call 911 as quickly as you can—or better yet, bring them to the hospital to have it tended to. Offer to pay the victim’s medical bills, especially if neither of you expected your dog to bite them. You wouldn’t want to involve lawyers, after all.

2. Providing Information

In any personal injury case, always remember to exchange information with the victim. Because even though you’ve already offered to pay their medical bills, there’s always a high possibility they might bring the issue to court regardless. After all, once the court goes in their favor, they’re looking at an excessive amount of money from winning the case.

If that’s the case, provide basic information about yourself. Your full name, contact information, and address are only some of what you should give out. You must also ask if they can swap theirs with you too. Any information they have could help with the case, even more, when witnesses are present at the scene.

3. Seeking Advice

Although your dog was the one who hurt somebody, that doesn’t mean you’re immediately liable for the victim’s wounds. Because as mentioned earlier, there are multiple reasons behind your dog’s actions. For example, if the dog got provoked, the court could relieve you of liability. The same goes for victims who trespassed your property uninvited, and your dog lashed out accordingly.

Details like these can leave an impact on your case. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to hire a lawyer since they’re much more familiar with the issue. With their help, they can collect crucial information, such as accounts from witnesses and the victim’s medical records. They’d even request you hand over any records of your dog that can prove its innocence, especially if this is its first time hurting someone. Any information related to the case could affect your case one way or another.

4. Calling The Insurance Company

Since this issue involves you paying someone else’s bills, you’re responsible for contacting your insurance company to update them on what’s happening. However, you and your lawyer need to have your case foolproof once you get them involved. This way, you have a higher chance of getting that settlement to compensate the victim.

5. Collecting Dog’s Records

As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to always keep up with your dog’s health. Although it’s for its safety, it’s also for the people around it. Otherwise, whomever it hurt would be left with lasting damages. So, besides keeping a clean record of your dog’s history of hurting people, always stay on top when vaccinating it. Even though it injured someone, the damage won’t be as detrimental as an unvaccinated dog’s bite.

Takeaway 

Owning a dog isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Even though they’re cute and cuddly most of the time, they can’t avoid their primal nature, especially if something urges them to act on it. However, a responsible owner would’ve seen this coming ever since they got a dog. Therefore, once their dog hurts someone, it’s up to them to do damage control.

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