Who is Liable When a Dog Bites a Child?

Who is Liable When a Dog Bites a Child?

When a dog bites and wounds a child, knowing what to do if a child is bitten by a dog will assist you if it should ever happen to your child. However, after that, parents are understandably prone to be furious, seeking justice and compensation for their little ones however they can. The most important part of that process is understanding who is liable for their child’s injury, and under what conditions that liability holds true. Every case is unique, however, so the best way to learn about liability is to consult a dog bite attorney in Arizona.

Unique Liability Considerations with Children

Due to their general immaturity, children create a unique debate surrounding dog bite liability when they’re hurt—on one hand, children can’t be expected to make perfectly sound decisions with their safety in mind, which means they’re more likely to provoke a dog bite in the first place. However, knowing this, dog owners can reasonably be expected to be more cautious with leaving their dog unattended around children, especially if they know the dog or child to be rowdy. 

Overall, most of the responsibility to prevent dog bites is shifted towards the owners and parents. Let’s first look at the issue of why children might seem “liable”:

  • Who’s Liable When a Dog Bites a Child?Children are more likely to incite dogs to bite in self-defense or as part of a rowdy play, and might act maliciously, irresponsibly, or simply too energetically around a dog without regard for the dangers posed to them. If a child incites an otherwise peaceful dog to bite them, then in many respects, nobody is liable for the injury save for the child themselves and their parents, by extension.

Conversely, however, dog owners and parents alike are expected to act with children’s best interests in mind, knowing full well that they’re vulnerable:

  • Parents should only allow their children to interact with dogs they know and trust, and should always supervise them with their full attention while they play.
  • Dog owners need to be especially cautious when allowing their dogs to interact with children, and should only do so if they know their dog to be docile and gentle, and furthermore, know that the child is unlikely to provoke a bite.
  • A common counterpoint to this consideration is that a dog owner can’t possibly know the temperament of every child their dog interacts with—however, this rarely holds up in practice. For one, owners should be especially cautious if they don’t know the child in question; however, 45% of all dog bites involve dogs that the victim knows, so the odds are good that the dog owner very well should have been expected to know better.

Child Dog Bite Compensation in Arizona

In practice, as long as no trespassing was involved, the dog owner is likely liable if their dog bites a child. There are almost always things the owner could have done to prevent a bite, so provided that the child didn’t sneak by them and go out of their way to get a dog to bite them, you have a strong case to get compensation from them under Arizona’s dog bite laws. Call ELG today at (623) 877-3600 to talk to one of our Arizona dog bite attorneys about how to start the claims process and secure you the compensation your child deserves for such a traumatizing, painful experience.