Can I Receive Compensation for Injuries Sustained Protecting My Dog?
If you have never been the victim of a dog bite or animal attack, you might not realize how serious they can be. A dog bite can leave a person with permanent physical and psychological injuries. Under Connecticut law, these victims are entitled to compensation from the owners of the attacking animal.
Pit Bull Owner Ordered to Pay $30,000
In some cases, a person may receive damages even if they are indirectly injured during a dog attack. The Connecticut Appellate Court recently addressed such a case. The victim here was injured while attempting to protect his own dog from a vicious pit bull.
The plaintiff, in this case, was walking his miniature schnauzer one day when a pit bull “came across the street and charged at” the plaintiff’s dog. The pit bull bit the schnauzer’s leg. Although the pit bull did not bite the plaintiff, he still “suffered injuries to his thumb and back” in the course of attempting to get his own dog out of harm’s way.
The plaintiff later sued the pit bull’s owner for damages. In court, the plaintiff presented a veterinary bill for $643, the cost of treating his schnauzer for the leg injury. The plaintiff also claimed medical expenses of approximately $3,600 for himself. He testified at trial that he continued to experience “chronic pain” in his thumb following the pit bull attack.
The case was tried before a judge without a jury. The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding not only economic damages for the plaintiff’s medical and veterinary expenses (around $5,000) but also “noneconomic damages” of $25,000 for the permanent injury to his thumb.
On appeal, the defendant challenged the trial judge’s decision to award noneconomic damages without “reviewing the medical records” submitted by the plaintiff. During the trial, the judge relied on the plaintiff’s testimony and arguments made by his attorney but did not personally review all of the medical evidence. The Appellate Court said there was nothing wrong with this approach. A trier of fact is not required under Connecticut law to evaluate the “permanency” of a plaintiff’s injuries without reference to expert testimony.
A New London Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
You might be wondering why this case was not tried before a jury. The plaintiff initially requested one but later changed his mind. The defendant, who was not represented by counsel until trial, orally asked for a jury at the last minute. The judge rejected the request. The Appellate Court said that was well within the judge’s discretion. In Connecticut, a jury trial must be requested in writing within a certain time frame.
This is one reason, among many, why you need to work with an experienced Waterford-New London, Connecticut dog bite attorney. You should never represent yourself in court at any stage of a case, especially since it may result in accidentally waiving valuable legal rights. If you are involved in any type of personal injury matter and need immediate assistance, contact the offices of Polito & Associates LLC at 860-447-3300 today.