What Is An Overview Of New Hampshire State Dog Bite Laws?
New Hampshire has a law known as strict liability. When it comes to the owner of a dog, he or she is responsible for all of their dog’s actions. In New Hampshire, animals are treated as personal property. Therefore, you are responsible for that piece of personal property, in this case, a pet. For example, if you are walking your dog on a leash, and that dog bites somebody, you are liable. If the dog is not on a leash, you are liable. If the dog is in your yard and someone comes into the yard, you could be held liable for the actions of the dog. Strict liability is just that. It is strict. It puts the onus back on the owner to maintain 100% control of that animal, 100% of the time.
What Are The Common Types Of Injuries People Sustain In Dog Bite Accidents?
The most common types of injuries resulting from dog bites are the bites or puncture wounds. The injuries can result from some type of mauling such as maiming or scarring of the skin. Depending on the type of dog or situation, sometimes it can be a fear bite where the dog reacts, bites, releases the bite, and retreats. Sometimes, it’s an aggressive attack in which the dog has a protective sense, and the result is multiple bites. Or, depending upon the breed of dog, you may get a clamp down bite where the dog is not letting go under any circumstances. In some situations, based upon the victim, you might get a compression fracture, broken bones, or some type of rip and tear of the flesh that results in stitches and sutures from the wound.
A dog bite might be a simple two or three teeth puncture wound. It might be something dramatically more severe, and those injuries have a different course of assessment as well as treatment for future damages. For instance, if the injuries were sustained by a child, depending upon the age of the child and the growth that’s still expected of that child, there may be some future plastic surgery costs. If the child suffered a facial laceration, you certainly don’t want to perform surgery on a five or seven-year-old until their skin has fully matured. You may coordinate a settlement to hold money in escrow for future medical costs once the child reaches an age of maturity or goes through the next level of growth. If the injury was traumatic, some money may need to be put aside for counseling. A traumatic injury on a young child can cause PTSD. This can generate or further perpetuate the fear of dogs and situations or environments in and around animals. Thus, counseling in the future could be necessary and needs to be allocated in the claim for damages.
Who Is Potentially Liable In A Dog Bite Injury Claim?
Under strict liability, the owner of the dog is liable. The question then becomes – will the defense attorneys and insurance company’s defense try to mitigate the damages by passing off the liability to other parties? For example, a homeowner who hires a dog walking service to walk the dog will still be held liable if an injury occurs while the dog walker is in possession of the dog. If the dog bite occurs on the dog owner’s property because somebody entered into that property, there is a whole separate area of law to assess this situation. For instance, if you invite house guests over, you have the knowledge that people will be present and so you need to maintain control of the dog.
If a licensee person is on the property such as an electric meter reader or a UPS or FedEx driver, there are different sets of laws that examine that type of situation. Also, what happens when people are going door to door selling something or taking a political poll, and you as a dog owner have no expectation of someone coming over? The law is going to examine who is liable when it comes to a strict liability standard. Usually, the owner of the dog is going to be liable, but the action that the dog owner took to maintain control of the dog will also be considered.
Was the yard fenced in? Was the dog on a leash? Were there signs posted at the entrance to the driveway that there should be no trespassing or that there’s a dog on-site? What notice was given to those people entering the property to do whatever business they were doing? What notice did they have that there was a dog on-site and that they needed to take action? Accordingly, all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the situation prior to the accident and during the accident are going to be examined by both the injury attorneys and defense attorneys.
For more information on Dog Bite Laws In The State Of New Hampshire, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (603) 267-4436 today.
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