Dog bites can happen suddenly and sometimes without any warning from the animal. In Delaware, dog bite claims are taken seriously, and it may be possible to file a claim against the owner of the dog for financial compensation. What else should you know if you are considering the possibility of filing a dog bite claim? The following are five key things to know about dog bite cases in Delaware.
1 – Millions of People are Bitten by Dogs Every Year
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), more than 4.5 million people suffer dog bite injuries every year, and more than 800,000 of those people need to receive medical treatment for their wounds. Approximately 400,000 of those people are children, and kids are more likely than adults to suffer serious or life-threatening injuries in dog bite incidents.\
2 – Dogs Bite for Many Different Reasons
The AVMA explains that there are a wide variety of reasons that dogs bite, “but most commonly as a reaction to something.” Sometimes dogs bite because they get scared or feel threatened, but they can also bite if someone tries to get in the way of their food or to take away a toy. In addition, if a dog is ill, it might bite, especially if someone touches an area where the dog has been injured. Dogs can also bite for other reasons, and sometimes the reason is unclear after a dog attack occurs.
3 – Dog Owners Can be Liable for Bite Injuries
Under Delaware law, dog owners can be liable for injuries from a dog bite. The statute says:
“The owner of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by such dog, unless the injury, death, or loss was caused to to the body or property of a person who, at the time, was committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner, or was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against any person, or was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.”
In sum, a dog owner is liable whenever a dog bites unless the dog bites to defend the owner’s property, to defend another person, or in self-defense in response to tormenting or abuse.
4 – Strict Liability Applies to Dog Bite Cases
In Delaware, dog owners can be strictly liable for dog bites. Strict liability is one theory of liability in injury cases. With strict liability, there is no need to prove negligence. As such, there is no need to prove that the dog owner was negligent. Instead, owning the dog is enough for liability to attach.
5 – Most Dog Bite Claims Must be Filed Within Two Years From the Date of Injury
If you or someone you love sustained a dog bite injury, you typically must file a claim within two years from the date of the injury under the Delaware statute of limitations.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Delaware
If you have questions about filing a personal injury claim after a dog bite, you should get in touch with an experienced Delaware personal injury lawyer today. Contact Freibott Law online or give us a call in Wilmington: (302) 633-9000.