Dog Bite Injury in Connecticut

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Under Connecticut CT law, a person can be strictly liable for injuries sustained by the victim of a dog bite. Strict liability means that the person suing, the plaintiff, does not have to prove fault or that the dog's owner or keeper was negligent or knew or should have known the dog was vicious.

Some states have the one-bite rule. This rule says that the owner of the dog must have had notice that the dog had dangerous or vicious tendencies. So, thus, dogs are allowed one free bite before their owners can be sued. This is not required under Connecticut CT dog bite law.

Connecticut Dog Bite Law – Strict Liability

This allows the injured victim of a dog bite to have a statutory cause of action. Under Connecticut General Statutes CGS § 22-357, aka the “Dog Bite Statute” the plaintiff (or person suing) only has to establish that the defendant (person being sued) was the (1) owner or keeper of the dog, (2) the owner or keepers dog bit the victim causing injury, and (3) the victim did nothing to that the victim did nothing to tease, abuse, torment, or otherwise provoke the dog.

Where there are multiple dogs involved in a dog bite attack, each owner can be held equally responsible for all damage or injuries caused to the victim by the dog.

Owner or Keeper

It is usually fairly easy to establish that one is the owner or keeper of a dog. This can be accomplished by getting the defendant to admit that it is their dog, dog licensing records, or an investigative report completed by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture's Animal Control Division. An experienced Connecticut dog bite lawyer will be able to gather this evidence on your behalf to meet the burden of proof.

Limitations on Dog Bite Statute

If the victim of a dog bite did somehow provoke the dog, then the dog bite victim will not have viable claim to sue under the statute. Likewise, if the victim was trespassing when the dog bit, he or she will be disqualified from bringing a claim under the dog bite statute. For example, if Johnny the Burglar breaks into your home only to find the family Rottweiler, Randy, who is not so pleased to see Johnny Burglar then Johnny will not get the benefit of not having to prove Randy's owner was somehow at fault.

Trespassers Cannot Sue Under Dog Bite Statute

Connecticut courts have decided that the “trespass” requires something more than just the criminal definition of uninvited entry onto someone else's property.[1] The Verilli court explained that if the victim did not intend to trespass or intend to cause property damage, then the victim is not a trespasser under the meaning of the statute. The law also presumes that if the dog bite victim is six (6) years of age or younger when bitten, that the child is not a trespasser. In the example provided above, a burglar would be considered a trespasser.

Negligence Theory

Even if you can't sue under the Connecticut CT dog bite statute, you can still proceed by suing the owner of the dog or property owner where the bite occurred. In order to do so, you would need to establish that the dog or property owner knew or should have known that the dog responsible for the bite was vicious. This is important for your Connecticut CT dog bite case because it means that there are other potential responsible parties other than the dog owner or keeper.

For example, let's say that you, as the victim of a dog bite, sued the dog owner. The owner, Sarah, admits that it is her dog and that you did nothing to provoke her dog. You think your case is a slam dunk, however, Sarah does not have insurance that would cover her liability. You decide not to pursue the claim. But wait…as it turns out, you were bit at Sarah's friend's house, Bill, who knew that Sarah's dog was vicious because Bill had seen Sarah's dog bite two other friends before. Bill said nothing to you and didn't warn you even know he had knowledge that Sarah's dog was vicious. Therefore, Bill could be negligent.

Landlords Can Be Liable for Dog Bites

The Connecticut Supreme Court recently decided that a landlord could be liable for a bite by a tenant's dog if the landlord was aware that the dog was vicious and did not reasonably act to protect others against the known danger.[2] In this case, the landlord ordered the dog owner to remove the dog, but never took any further steps to ensure that the owner had actually done so. The dog ended up bitting another tenant, and the court concluded that the landlord was responsible because the landlord was (a) on notice of the dog's vicious nature, and (b) was responsible to protect other tenants in common areas where the bite occurred.

Contact an Experienced and Skilled Dog Bite Lawyer Today for Free Consult

If you've been the victim of a dog bite, contact Sorrentino Legal, the experienced Connecticut Dog Bite attorneys for a free consultation. You can reach us by calling (203) 518-8010 for a free consultation and tell us about your dog bite case to see how we can help you get you compensated for your dog injury today.

We service the entire State of Connecticut, including the following counties:

  • New Haven County Dog Bite Lawyer: serving dog bites in Branford, New Haven, Guilford, Madison, East Haven, West Haven, North Haven, Milford, Clinton, Westbrook, and Old Saybrook.
  • Fairfield County Dog Bite Lawyer: serving dog bites in Stratford, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Darien, Westport, Greenwich, and Stamford
  • New London County Dog Bite Lawyer
  • Middlesex County Dog Bite Lawyer
  • Hartford County Dog Bite Lawyer
  • Litchfield County Dog Bite Lawyer
  • Tolland County Dog Bite Lawyer
  • Windham County Dog Bite Lawyer

[1] Verrilli v. Damilowski, 140 Conn. 358, 363 (1953)

[2] Giacalone v. Housing Authority of Town of Wallingford, 306 Conn. 399 (2012)

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