Getting Knocked Down by a Dog May Also Lead to Injuries and Dog Bite Claims
Physical Injuries Sustained by Tripping or Being Knocked Down by a Dog Would be Considered an Animal Attack
Interviewer: What if a dog’s just being friendly and accidentally knocks you down? What types of injuries would you normally see from this?
Richard Sailer: Something that happens quite frequently that people don’t realize is that you can make a case if you’re knocked down by a dog. For instance, a big dog jumps up on a child or an elderly person and actually knocked them down and they sustain an injury in the fall. That situation would still be the responsibility of the dog owner even though there wasn’t an attack or there wasn’t a bite. Even if the dog either tripped somebody or knocked them down, there can still be a case.
You’re still responsible and there’s strict liability for any damage that your animal does. Often times, we’ll see a physical injury—elbow or shoulder injury when somebody gets knocked down or wrist injuries when you get knocked back or you put your arm out to brace yourself when you’re falling. Those types of things would still be covered under the homeowners insurance and would be considered an animal attack.
Typical Scenario Involving Dog Attacks and Dog Bite Lawsuits
Interviewer: Could you give us an example of a very typical case that involved an individual receiving some sort of injury from a dog?
Richard Sailer: A typical case would be a kid riding his bike down the sidewalk and dog gets out of the gate, chases a kid, and bites his ankle. I would say we get calls on that weekly.
Aside from Mailmen and Utility Workers, Children Are the Most Common Dog Bite Victims
Interviewer: Do you have cases where dogs attack children?
Richard Sailer: Yes. Aside from the mailmen and utility workers, I’d say children are most likely to be bit because they’re typically outside playing or running around. I think to even just from a psychological perspective, it may be a little bit more intimidating to an animal when adult stands up, shouts at a dog, or points or waives their arm. The dog may be more inclined to deflect the attack than a child who would typically run away. The dog might see them as prey and attacks them.
It is Common for Dog Owners to Argue that the Animal was Provoked
Interviewer: Do owners ever try to argue the point that their dog was provoked?
Richard Sailer: Yes, that’s a common thing that happens but fortunately for the victim the current state of the law is strict liability. Unless the animal was overly provoked, it really doesn’t matter. Basically you have to be torturing the animal to have that be a defense.