Dogs make great pets, service animals and companion animals. They are clever, strong and typically friendly. However, not all dogs tolerate people the same way. Some animals quickly become aggressive in a variety of situations. That leaves people, especially younger children, at risk for injury and trauma.
Small children don’t often have the ability to read a dog’s attempts at communication accurately. They may not understand that growling is not an invitation to play, but rather a warning. Sadly, children can suffer truly catastrophic injuries as the result of a dog bite. It’s important to know your rights in Iowa after a vicious dog bite attack that injures your child.
Dog bite attacks can leave physical and emotional wounds
Children are often closer to a dog’s level, which means that a dog bite has the potential to affect more delicate parts of their body. Adults often end up bitten on the hands or legs, but children can suffer severe bites to the face and neck.
Bites to the face, as well as bites to the neck or hands, can require extensive surgeries for growing children. One single surgery will not be enough to repair the cosmetic damage a dog bite causes. As your child grows, additional surgeries will likely be necessary.
Even if the location of the bite is in a place that won’t result in permanent disfigurement, you also have to worry about the emotional damage of the attack. Children bitten by dogs may develop a fear of all dogs. Other children may develop a fear of locations they associate with a dog attack, including a friend’s home or even outdoor spaces. It can take months or years of intense counseling and therapy to overcome the emotional trauma related to a dog bite attack.
Iowa families have rights under the law
Every state has its own approach to responsible animal ownership and dog bites. Iowa’s dog bite law has certain requirements for owners, as well as for victims of dog bites. In general, a dog’s owner is responsible for any injuries a dog causes by biting someone.
Many times, the owner will have an insurance policy that offsets their financial liability for a bite attack. Homeowner policies, as well as renter’s policies, usually have riders that provide protection for cases of dog bites. If the owner does not have insurance coverage, victims may have the right to pursue damages with a personal injury lawsuit.
The only situation in which a dog’s owner isn’t responsible is when the victim broke the law at the time of the attack. Cases involving trespassing or attempted robbery generally do not result in liability for the dog’s owner. In almost any other situation, the dog’s owner is responsible for any injuries or losses caused by their dog.