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Attorneys for Cyclists Injured by Attacking Dogs

Some of the common places for riding bicycles such as recreational areas and parks are also places were dog owners hang around. In such surroundings, dogs can easily dart in front of a cyclist and either hit the bicycle or cause the cyclist to lose control, potentially causing an accident. In such incidences, it is the responsibility of the dog’s owner to control the dog to prevent accidents. In many cases, the dog owner is liable for injuries that arise when their dog is responsible for a cycling accident. There are three laws that impose liability on dog owners for the injuries caused by their dogs.

 

One bite rule

 

According to this rule, a dog owner is responsible for the injuries caused by their dog if they are aware or should have been aware that the dog was capable of causing such an injury.

 

The one bite rule implies that every dog has one fee bite and from that one incidence, the owner should take measures to protect the public from the dog. Less serious behavior also applies to this rule. For example, if a dog snaps or growls at people, this is enough to indicate that it may injure someone.

 

When claiming liability under the one bite rule, you are required to prove that the owner knew about the dog’s dangerous tendency. For example, if the dog jumped and knocked you down from your bicycle, the question is whether the owner knew about the dog’s behavior of knocking people down. If the owner was aware of this behavior, they may be held liable for the accident.

 

Negligence

 

A dog owner who is negligent, or unreasonably careless, in handling a dog can be held liable if a person is hurt as a result. The test for negligence is based on the facts of an incident. The court will seek to determine whether the dog’s owner acted reasonably under the circumstances. If their actions were reasonable, they cannot be held liable for your injuries.

 

When making a claim for a dog related injury on the basis of negligence, petitioners are required to show that the dog owner violated a law. For example, when a dog owner violates a leash law by allowing their dog to roam at large, and the dog attacks a person or causes an accident, the dog owner can be held liable on the grounds of negligence.

 

Strict Liability Statutes

 

In many states, dog owners are held liable for dog-related injuries regardless of whether they were at fault or not. These laws are known as strict liability statutes. The concept governing these statutes is that anyone who owns a dog should be held responsible for any damage that the dog causes. Therefore, even if the owner was careful with their dog, or was not aware that it was capable of harming people, or tried to prevent it from harming people, they are still held liable.

 

To succeed in a lawsuit based on these laws, you need to prove four things:

 

  • You were attacked or harmed by the dog
  • The person you are suing for the incident is the owner of the dog
  • You did not provoke the dog to attack you
  • You were acting peaceably in a place where you had a right to be

Strict liability laws do not only apply when the dog makes physical contact or bites someone, they may also apply where the dog frightens or runs at someone, causing them to injure themselves. However, the dog must take some action directed towards the injured person. For example, if you are riding across the street and a dog cuts in front of you in a hurry to get to the next lane, you cannot sue the dog owner for an accident resulting from such a distraction: the dog was not focused on you.

 

The Take Away

 

If you were riding your bicycle and you got involved in an accident or sustained an injury because of an attacking dog, you can make a claim against the dog owner. Consult attorneys for cyclists injured by attacking dogs to determine the best course of action. In most cases, cyclists will file a lawsuit based on the one bite rule, negligence, or strict liability statutes. Whichever the case, you will need experienced and skilled legal counsel to build a strong case for you and secure damages on your behalf.

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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