Does a dog’s breed affect its owner’s liability for harm?

Blogs from September, 2020

Attorney Mark Rufo PC

A canine’s breed does not determine whether its owner is responsible for a bite or an attack. According to The General Court of New Hampshire, the owner or caretaker of a dog that harms you or your property faces strict liability for damages.

If you or a family member suffers an attack when a dog escapes its owner’s control, you may file a legal action regardless of its breed. If, however, you were trespassing on the owner’s property, you may not find that you can recover damages.

Which dog breeds are most likely to attack?

Based on statistics published in Forbes, the Pit Bull breed is responsible for the majority of U.S. fatal dog attacks. Considering the breed represents less than 10% of the nation’s canine population, the number of attacks should cause owners to remain particularly careful. Not all dog owners, however, exercise a sufficient degree of care when controlling or walking their animals.

According to the statistics collected between 2005 and 2017, the Rottweiler breed ranked next, but not as a “close second.” The breed accounted for only 10% of the attacks. The German shepherd breed ranked third at slightly under 5%.

What are the recovery costs associated with dog attacks?

As Forbes also noted, medical costs for individuals recovering from dog attacks have increased significantly. Liability payments for dog attacks during 2017 totaled close to $700 million and represented greater than a third of the claims made.

If a dog attack causes you or a loved one to incur an injury, the recovery cost could exceed what you can handle on your own. The estimated average hospital cost for a canine-related injury is about $1,800.

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