|If you've been bitten by a dog or sustained an injury caused by a dog, contact us to discuss your case.|
Dog-related injuries to people are a common occurrence. The injuries may be the result of a dog bite or attack, or of an accident caused by a dog chasing or otherwise becoming involved with a person causing them to fall.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million Americans are bit by dogs each year, with 1 in 5 requiring medical treatment, more than 27,000 requiring reconstructive surgery.
What are Maine's laws pertaining to dog bites and other dog-related injuries?
Maine has a statewide leash law which essentially requires that a dog be on a leash and under control of its owner unless the dog is on the owner’s property.
Furthermore, Maine has a law that if a dog injures somebody and the injury occurs other than on the dog owner’s property, the owner of the dog is responsible for those injuries. The owner of the dog and the person who is controlling it are responsible regardless of whether he or she was personally negligent.
When is the dog owner held responsible for an injury?
Examples of the owner being held responsible for injury would include:
- If the dog broke through a fence or window and ran out onto the street, causing an automobile accident
- If the dog escaped from the owner’s property and caused someone to fall in an effort to avoid it
- If the dog escaped and bit someone
In these circumstances, the owner would be responsible even though he or she may not have been negligent in allowing the dog to escape and may have had no knowledge of the dog’s aggressive nature.
An example of an owner being responsible under the requirement that the owner is negligent would be:
- If the owner was aware of a dog’s aggressive nature because it had attacked or bitten people before and, unprovoked, the dog attacked a guest at the owner’s home
Does homeowners insurance cover a dog-related injury?
Most people have a homeowners insurance policy and the homeowner’s insurance company will defend the homeowner and pay the claims if the homeowner is responsible for the injuries. As these claims have become more frequent, homeowners insurance companies have taken action to limit their exposure on these types of claims.
Many homeowners insurance policies now exclude coverage if the homeowner has certain types of dogs, such as a Pit Bull, Rottweiler or Doberman Pinscher. The insurance company will ask a question on the application as to whether the homeowner owns a dog and if so, what kind. It's important to honestly answer this question because the failure to do so can result in a loss of coverage.
In conclusion, the law generally protects people for injuries caused by dogs. If you or a family member has been bitten by a dog or sustained injuries caused by a dog, contact us at 800-660-3713 to discuss your case.