Why Provoking A Dog Can Dismiss A Dog Bite Related Lawsuit
If your dog bites someone, you may be found liable in a personal injury lawsuit and have to pay for the damages. What if your dog was provoked before they bit? Most states have laws where you cannot be liable if your dog was provoked by another person.
What Does It Mean To Provoke A Dog?
When you think of provoking a dog, the things that come to mind are poking, teasing, or acting mean to them in some way. While that is obvious behavior of provocation, there are also unintentional actions that may have occurred.
For example, dogs can be provoked by accidentally stepping on them because someone did not notice them. The victim in this situation may not have done anything wrong, but they did something that caused the aggressive behavior.
In order for the plaintiff to win their personal injury lawsuit against you, they need to prove that they did not provoke the dog. This means that they were less than 50% responsible in the incident.
As the defendant, you can argue that they were unable to prove they did not provoke the dog. You can also use evidence, such as an eyewitness, to prove that the plaintiff is not telling the full story of the incident.
Factoring Your Dog's Behavior
The temperament of your dog is taken into consideration when trying to prove if they were provoked. For example, your dog may be overly sensitive and naturally react aggressively to actions that would be considered slight provocation.
As the dog's owner, you are responsible for warning people of your dog's temperament. If you have an overly aggressive dog, you must take additional steps to protect other people.
The plaintiff may decide to get an expert opinion to judge the temperament of your dog in order to prove the dog wasn't provoked. The good news is that the expert will not have the final say about any temperament issues, as it is ultimately up to the jury or judge for your case.
Verifying State Laws
Check with a personal injury lawyer about the specific statutes in your state regarding dog bites. Some states make it difficult for a defendant to win their dog bite injury lawsuit, but do not rule out using a provocation defense. Other states allow provocation defenses but require that the type of provocation be careless or mischievous.
In the end, if your dog was intentionally provoked by another person that caused the dog bite, you have a good chance of winning your case. For more information, contact a professional such as Gregory V Sharkey Attorney.