Each state sets its own laws regarding how owners must control their dogs and liability for dog bites. In Connecticut, the state has imposed a strict liability law for dog bites, although claims based on negligence may be filed. The following reviews the definition of strict liability for dog bites vs. negligence-based claims, exceptions to the strict liability statute, and damages recoverable for a dog bite victim.

Connecticut’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Statute

Many states have negligence-based liability laws concerning dog bites. Connecticut, on the other hand, imposes a strict liability law for dog bites. This means that when a dog causes harm to another person, the dog’s owner is liable for those damages.

The victim does not have to prove the dog owner’s negligence (if the dog owner is under the age of 18, the dog owner’s parents will be liable). In other words, the dog owner does not have to have known that the dog was dangerous at the time of dog bite in order to be liable for damages. This law is found in Connecticut General Assembly Statutes Section 22-357.

As a note, a case can be brought against a defendant based on both negligence and negligence per se. The former is a claim that states that the owner should have known, or did know, of the dog’s violent nature, and therefore should have restrained the dog. The latter states the owner did not restrain the dog properly and the dog was trespassing, was off leash, was at large or otherwise was in violation of Connecticut’s laws regarding dog control.

Exceptions to Strict Liability in Connecticut

While Connecticut has a strict liability policy, there are some exceptions to the law. According to Section 22-357 of the Connecticut code, the owner of a dog will not be liable if the victim of the dog bite was “committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing” the dog. If the person who brings the charges against the dog owner is representing a dog bite victim who is younger than seven years of age, it will be assumed that the child was not doing any of the above (trespassing, teasing, tormenting, committing a tort, etc.).

Recovering Damages Following a Dog Bite

Dog owners are liable for injury-related expenses like medical costs that arise because of the dog bite. Victims may also seek compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, and more.

All negligence-based claims for personal injury in Connecticut must be filed within two years’ time after the cause of injury (dog bite) occurs under Section 52-584 of Chapter 926 of Connecticut General Assembly Laws. Of course, a negligence-based claim can yield damages for all economic losses.

Seek the Help of a Connecticut Dog Bite Lawyer Today

Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs leashed or otherwise prevent them from roaming. They also have a responsibility to pay for damages that their dogs cause. A person who is bitten by a dog, while not acting illegally or tormenting a dog, deserves to recover compensation for his injuries and related damages.

At Murphy, Laudati, Kiel, Buttler & Rattigan, LLC, our attorneys can help you understand Connecticut’s dog bite statutes and whether you should file your claim based on statutory law or on negligence and what types of damages may be recoverable. The sooner that you call us, the sooner that we can begin building your case. Reach us today to schedule your first meeting with our legal team at 860-674-8296.