Some dog owners put a “Beware of Dog’ sign on their fence thinking that is enough to protect them legally from liabilities (in case of a dog bite lawsuit) or to keep trespassers away. The truth is that those signs are worth very little if your dog attacks someone, especially if you know very well that the dog is aggressive and can be a threat to someone’s safety. A simple sign won’t protect you from a dog bite lawsuit.
When your dog attacks someone, you might be legally liable for the injuries that the victim sustained. So I n case of vicious bites and serious injuries, the victim is legally allowed to seek compensation. Using the warning sign to inform the public about your dog isn’t always the best way to avoid legal action and it can sometimes be used against you.
As a dog owner, you are 100% liable and responsible for the actions of your pet. And as such, in the event your dog attacks someone, the victim has the right to file a dog bite lawsuit.
The sign doesn’t prevent someone to file a dog bite lawsuit against you
The ‘Beware of Dog’ doesn’t grant you immunity to dog bite lawsuits. The sign doesn’t provide any legal protection and it can also be helpful to the victim’s case. The plaintiff’s lawyer might argument in court that you were well aware of the safety risks and by placing that sign, you openly informed the public of those risks. In the event that someone is injured despite the warning sign, and if you did nothing else to prevent the attack from happening, you can be held liable for all costs which are associated with the attack.
Furthermore, if there were complaints about your dog in the past e.g. he/she already attacked someone, putting a sign might mean that you admit your dog is a risk for public safety. So the court could eventually assume that you were well aware of the risks and that you did nothing to protect the public safety.
Neutral wording might serve you better
All dog owners must know that there’s no guarantee to avoid legal liability, even if they put out a warning sign. As an alternative to preventing inaccurate interpretation, you could use a sign with neutral wording. So instead of “Beware of dog” you can use “Dog on premises” or “No trespassing” sign.
Dog bite attacks in the event that there was a sign
If you or your loved one was attacked by a dog and sustained injuries, and the owner had a warning sign on the fence, this can actually help you case. However, in order to be sure whether this sign can be helpful in your dog bite lawsuit, you need to talk to an experienced dog bit attorney. It’s not always that that type of sign could benefit you.
There are many factor which determine the liability for the owner in case of a dog bite and when determining the settlement you are owed from the attack. These factors can include:
If you were trespassing – This is probably the main and most important question you need to answer. Were you (or your loved one) as the victim of the attack, trespassing on the premises? Trespassing is a crime and it doesn’t require the property owner to post a sign about that. If you or the victim were trespassing and you sustained injuries from the dog, you (or the victim) are NOT entitled to any kind of compensation. This is simply because you were injuries while you were committing a crime.
In the even that you were trespassing, the “Beware of Dog” sign might not benefit your case. If you indeed were trespassing, you will not receive compensation and the court might even prevent your case from moving forward.
There are of course certain exceptions to entering a property. For example, if you’re a post officer or gas meter reader. These jobs allow you to enter someone’s property because that’s part of your job.
Did the dog owner take any action to protect the public?
If the dog owner was aware that the dog poses a threat to public safety, the next thing would be to determine whether toe owner took every reasonable precaution and effort in order to protect the public. Fencing a dog is a good start, but sometimes that’s not enough to hold a dog, since they can still jump over the fence and attack someone. In this case, the fence was clearly not enough to protect the public.
The severity of the injuries
The settlement amount depends on the severity of the wounds, not if you have a case or not. Higher settlements are due if the injuries are more severe or permanent. The settlement could include all medical costs, lost wages and tangible losses originating from the attack.
If you were injured by a vicious dog, you may have a case
Arizona Revised Statutes have specific laws that cover dog bite injuries. You can learn more about this here. In order to surely determine whether you have a case for a dog bite lawsuit, is to speak with an experienced dog bite attorney at Schenk Podolsky. We have extensive experience in personal injury law, including dog bites and will be able to tell you if you have a valid case to compensate for your injuries and damages.
Contact our experienced dog bit attorneys today and schedule a free consultation.