Recently, we provided a general overview of the concept of strict liability. As we saw, strict liability is a highly important concept in the context of civil law. If you’re a pet owner, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with this idea, even if you don’t have reason to believe that your pet is particularly dangerous or likely to harm others. Strict liability is based on statutory civil law; this is especially true when it comes to harm caused by pets and comes into play in the context of Connecticut dog bite law. Dog bite law is one of our practice areas, and so in this post we will discuss Connecticut’s dog bite statute – General Statute § 22-357 – in a bit of detail.
Mastering all the finer points of Connecticut’s dog bite statute would require a very long, in-depth treatise. This post, however, will provide an overview of three basic points which underpin § 22-357.
Point #1: There is a Statute of Limitations
The first point to mention when discussing Connecticut’s dog bite law is that injuries caused by dog bites are subject to a statute of limitations. Under current law, the statute of limitations applying to dog bites is two years. In general, the clock for the statute of limitations starts running at the time of the injury. However, some exceptions exist, and so you should always check carefully to know precisely when the statute of limitations clock begins in a given case. Statutes of limitations are rarely overlooked. If you initiate a lawsuit after the two year period has expired, the court will simply dismiss the lawsuit and will not consider its merits.
Point #2: Strict Liability Applies to CT Dog Bite Law
Connecticut’s General Statute § 22-357 adheres to the principle of strict liability. This means that owners will be held liable for injuries even if they didn’t have prior knowledge of any aggressive or dangerous tendencies. It also means that owners will be held liable even if they aren’t directly at fault or negligent. Under current law, injured persons only need to demonstrate three things in order to have a sustainable case against an owner. They need to show: (1) that either they or their property were actually injured by the animal, (2) that they weren’t trespassing, and (3) that they were not provoking the animal.
Point #3: There are Two Main Defenses
Even though strict liability is the basis for Connecticut’s dog bite law, owners can still raise defenses against the allegations of plaintiffs. There are two primary defenses: (1) the injured person was hurt while trespassing, and (2) the injured person provoked (or tormented, teased, abused, etc.) the animal. These defenses make sense intuitively. Think about it: if a person trespasses onto your property and is hurt while trespassing, holding the owner accountable in such a scenario would hardly be fair. In this case, the trespasser would need to bear the responsibility. Likewise, if a person “provoked” your dog – say, if he or she slapped your dog with the intention of causing harm – then it also wouldn’t be fair if that person didn’t bear some responsibility. As with all cases, the full story is needed in order to give an assessment of the most likely outcome. But these are the two most frequently raised defenses in dog bite cases.
Reach Out to Apex Law Firm Today
Connecticut dog bite law can be complex. This is especially true in cases which involve trespassing or provocation. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, or you have a possible claim, please contact Apex Law Firm today. We can give you an assessment to see if you may have a viable case. Give us a call today at 860-385-8360 and we will respond immediately.