While dog bites are responsible for a significant proportion of lawsuits brought over animal attack injuries, an alarming number of incidents involving other animals such as ferrets, snakes, birds and cats also lead to litigation. Regardless of the type of animal responsible for causing serious harm, it is important for victims to familiarize themselves with the liability rules which may help them secure fair financial compensation.
Dangerous animal attacks
The unfortunate truth is that even pets who appear to be fully domesticated and well-behaved can sometimes act on their natural attack instincts and produce serious injury to unsuspecting visitors. In addition, there are also situations in which individuals negligently attempt to keep wild animals on their property, in violation of local laws and regulations. Too often the result is an animal attack injury that leaves the victim to contend with costly medical bills, lasting disability, lost wages, physical agony and emotional trauma from which it can be difficult to completely recover.
Liability when animals attack in Louisiana
Louisiana statute provides that an animal’s owner is answerable for any harm it does to others, provided there is a showing that he or she knew or should have known that harm would likely ensue, that reasonable care could have prevented the harm and that such care was not taken.
Individuals who take it upon themselves to house animals typically considered to be wild in nature, including alligators and monkeys, are typically considered liable for the harm those animals cause to others.
In cases involving dog attacks, a clearly stated strict liability standard has been legislatively imposed on owners across the state. This means that a dog’s owner is liable for injuries to property or persons stemming from an attack which are not traceable to the victim’s own provocation of the animal. This is true even if the dog in question exhibited no prior history of aggressive behavior.
Potential defenses to animal bite claims
Despite the strict liability standard applied in dog attack cases across Louisiana, certain defenses do exist which may be raised by animal owners in order to escape responsibility for paying damages. For instance, a dog owner may argue that he or she had no ability to prevent what ultimately occurred, that the victim engaged in behaviors which provoked the injurious behavior, and/or that the victim was not lawfully on the premises where the incident took place. As in all injury cases, a comprehensive examination of the underlying facts conducted by a knowledgeable attorney is critical to formulating effective counterarguments in the face of such defense tactics.
Fighting on behalf of animal attack victims
Nobody expects to be the target of a vicious animal attack. Because every type of animal attack requires thorough investigation and sound legal strategies, the aid of a seasoned injury attorney can be vital to obtaining the outcome victims deserve. If you have suffered due to the actions of a dangerous animal and the potential negligence of the person responsible for housing and controlling it, Louisiana dog bite attorney Bart Bernard is prepared to help assert your right to justice. To learn more, call the firm’s Baton Rouge or Lafayette location.
Additional Resources on Louisiana Dog and Animal Attacks:
- Louisiana State Legislature, Art. 2321 – Damage caused by animals, https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=109384
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Preventing Dog Bites, http://www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/
- American Veterinary Medicine Association, Infographic: Dog Bites by the Numbers, https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/Infographic-Dog-Bites-Numbers.aspx