Dogs are considered man’s best friend, which is why they are among the most common pets across the country. Their presence in nearly every other American household may offer the residents comfort, but can also become a source of stress if the dog injures another person. According to some estimates, about 4 million people across the country are bitten by a dog annually. While some dog bites may not break the skin, others can be incredibly serious. Regardless of the severity of the bite, it can have serious psychological repercussions or physical scars that serve to remind the victim of the injury.
Utah’s law on dog bites
Dog bite liability is specifically addressed in state law. It is a strict liability law. This means that dog owners are liable for injuries their dog causes, whether or not they knew or had reason to know that their dog might cause injuries. It is this lack of knowledge that makes it a strict liability situation. The statute deals with injuries of all types caused by dogs, not only bites. For example, the dog may jump on someone and knock them over, causing their injuries.
It may also be argued that the dog owner was negligent in restraining their dog and preventing the situation that led to the dog bite. To prove this, the injured victim would have to demonstrate the elements of a negligence case, including a duty owed to the victim, a breach of that duty and a link between the injury and breach in question.
Since a dog owner may be able to provide various defenses in response to a negligence case, it might not be the path most victims want to take. Consulting an experienced attorney after becoming injured by a dog may be one way to discuss the legal options available to them to cover their medical expenses.