When a dog attacks a human, tragedy can result. Certain breeds of dogs have very strong jaws and may be capable of inflicting severe damage on the human body. Even small dogs can cause pain and disfiguring injuries, depending on where they bite their victim.
Some dog attacks actually prove fatal, especially when victims are elderly or very young. Other times, dog bite attacks can result in permanent disfigurement or severe injuries. The victims of these attacks may also develop a fear of dogs or post-traumatic stress. Those issues can all result in expensive medical bills, as well as costly therapy or counseling to address the emotional and psychological impact of the attack.
It is common for people in Iowa to wonder about their rights in the wake of an attack by someone else's dog. Thankfully, Iowa state law is very clear about liability and responsibility when it comes to animals that behave in a vicious manner. Victims typically have the right to pursue compensation after a dog attacks them or their minor child.
Dog owners are usually responsible for any injuries their animals cause
In almost all situations, dog owners incur liability for any behavior on the part of their animal. Dog owners should properly restrain their animal when in public. They should also train the animal to treat humans and other animals with respect. Fencing in a yard is also a wise step to limiting the liability associated with owning a dog.
Whether a dog attacks another animal or a human, the owner is responsible for the damages that result. The law does have two exceptions. An owner is not responsible for damages caused by a dog if the victim was engaged in an unlawful act. Theft, trespassing and assault are all examples of behaviors by victims that would negate the liability of the dog's owner.
Hydrophobia, or a fear of water, is another legal exception. Provided that the owner is unaware of the hydrophobia in their dog, they are not responsible for damages caused by the dog if weather conditions or environmental factors trigger an attack.
Those bitten by dogs have the right to seek compensation
Holding the owner of a vicious dog accountable in Iowa requires that the victim take certain steps. In some cases, the owner may have a home or rental insurance policy that offsets their liability related to the animal. In that situation, the insurance company would cover medical costs and other damages that result from a dog bite attack.
However, if that coverage is not adequate to reimburse the victim for financial losses, a personal injury lawsuit may become necessary. The victim of the attack or the parents of a minor victim can pursue financial compensation from the dog's owner in civil court.