Dog Bite results in a $1.2 Million Claim against the Owner

Although dogs are some of the most loved pets, they can also create liability issues for their owners. When dogs bite visitors who come on the property, the injured party can file a claim. The following story is a good example of how even a dog that is trained very well will bite visitors if it feels threatened.

In this case, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a dog owner, a kennel club and a dog trainer following a bite incident at a dog show. When the case went to trial, the dog owner was the only party left on the defendant side. The dog owner claimed that his pet was defending itself after the plaintiff tripped and hit the dog in the head with her foot.

The dog was a 100-pound male Akita that had not been neutered. At the time of the incident, the dog was on a leash, which was being held by its trainer. It was also noted in the case that a female dog near the male Akita was being held on a leash and was in heat. The plaintiff claimed that the Akita bit her when she walked between it and the female dog. The dog bit her ankle and would not let go. Witnesses said that the dog had to be pulled and kicked to make it release the plaintiff’s ankle. Evidence was discovered that the dog had been returned by a previous owner for aggressive behavior, and the animal had also bitten the leg of the breeder’s neighbor. After this incident, the dog was sold and enrolled in training programs. In her claim, the plaintiff said that the defendant was aware of the dog’s aggressive history.

The plaintiff was 70 when the accident occurred, and she was diagnosed with a tibial crush injury. The foot was nearly severed after portions of the bone were torn out from the injury. Five major surgeries followed this incident as well as the implantation of an orthopedic rod. The doctor of the plaintiff said she would have permanent scarring, and he also said that there was preexisting nerve damage due to radiation treatments. With the help of a three-wheeled walker, the plaintiff appeared in court.

The defendant said that the plaintiff kicked the dog, but she denied this allegation. He also denied knowing that the dog had violent tendencies. In addition to this, the defendant specified that the breeder had said the dog was not vicious. The breeder had said that the dog was provoked by another animal, which is why it had bitten before. The trial included many witnesses, and the jury found the defendant 100 percent liable for the dog bite. Due to the defendant’s negligence, more than $1.2 million was awarded to the plaintiff.

Most renters and homeowners policies include protection for dog bites. However, they do not always include every breed of dog. Some restricted breeds may require separate coverage. Most policies cover dog bites at home and away from home. People who do not have a homeowners or renters policy should obtain one immediately. Legal fees from a dog bite lawsuit will easily run into the millions, so it is important to make sure this coverage exists. People who own condos should purchase their own policies, because HOAs cover only the association if such an incident takes place. Most policies cover between $300,000 and $500,000. If a person wants to protect future earnings and existing assets, an umbrella policy is imperative. These policies are inexpensive, Dog owners who have questions or concerns should discuss them with an agent.  You can call ACBI at 203-259-7580 or visit our website


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