Who Is Liable If I Was Bitten By a Stray Dog?
It can be important to seek financial recovery for a dog bite injury in Omaha, Nebraska. Recovering financial compensation could enable you and your family to pay for outstanding medical bills, repair damaged property and move forward. Holding someone accountable could also bring justice and peace of mind. If the dog that attacked you was a stray with no known owner, it could be more difficult to obtain compensation.
What Are Nebraska’s Dog Bite Laws?
In a typical dog bite case, in which the victim knows the identity of the owner, the owner will be liable for damages. Nebraska Revised Statute Section 54-601 states that the owner of any dog that causes injuries or damages shall be liable for the losses accrued. A victim will have the right to hold the pet owner legally responsible for paying for related damages. A few exceptions to the strict liability dog bite law exist with trespassers, people who provoke dog attacks and dogs working in the official line of duty for law enforcement.
A dog is technically the owner’s property. Therefore, the pet owner’s homeowners insurance should cover the damages connected to a dog attack. If found liable for your injuries, the pet owner’s insurer should pay for your medical bills, property repairs, lost wages and other damages. It is generally easy to receive compensation for a dog bite injury when you know the defendant and he or she has insurance, as you do not have to prove the owner’s negligence to qualify for compensation. If the dog was a stray, on the other hand, recovery can be tricky.
Who Is Liable for the Actions of a Stray Dog?
If the vicious dog in your neighborhood has no known owner or origins, you may still be able to recover compensation based on the circumstances of the attack. If you were on public property, for example, the City of Omaha might have liability over the incident. This could be the case, for instance, if the attack was due to the city’s neglect to maintain a safe premises. If someone had previously reported the dangerous stray to the city’s animal control office, for example, yet no one tried to catch the animal, the government could be liable for an attack.
Another possibility is holding a private landowner accountable. If the owner of a piece of property knew or reasonably should have known about the stray dog on the premises and its vicious propensities, yet did nothing to resolve the issue or warn visitors, the owner could be liable on the basis of negligence. An allegation of negligence during a premises liability claim requires the victim to show proof of a duty of care owed, a duty of care breached (negligence) and causation for the injuries in question.
Hire an Omaha dog bite injury lawyer to help you investigate a stray dog attack in Omaha. An investigation of the stray dog’s origins could identify a defendant for your personal injury case. A lawyer could discover someone in the community had been harboring the stray dog for the last several weeks, for example, which could make that person liable for your damages. An investigation could also discover that the stray is not a stray at all; that someone technically owns the dog and allowed it to run at large. This would make the pet owner liable.
It is often up to a court to decide whether someone’s interactions with a stray dog count as harboring the animal. Simply feeding the stray one or two times, for example, may not make an individual liable for a dog attack. Harboring a dog inside the person’s home, however, could make a judge rule the individual liable. Since judges often decide stray dog claims on a case by case basis, use an attorney to increase your chances of a successful suit. A dog bite lawyer can help you navigate Nebraska’s related laws for the best possible case results.