Trespassing Question Proves Key in Dog-Mauling Case

trespassingWhen you no longer have a use for a larger household item or piece of furniture, have you ever put the item out by the street for passersby to take as needed? If someone were to stop and look more closely at your item, would you consider him or her to be trespassing? The notion of trespassing is one that can vary from one person to another. There is also a legal definition, of course, but as with most laws, the application of the definition frequently depends on the circumstances of a particular case. Trespassing is often an element in personal injury lawsuits involving dog bites, as highlighted by a recent ruling in Connecticut Superior Court.

Chair for the Taking

The case in question dates back to an incident that occurred in June 2014 when a 58-year-old Kent woman stopped to investigate a chair that had been placed near the side of the road on another’s property. The woman pulled her car into the driveway of the property and got out to look more closely at the chair. She was subsequently attacked by three dogs who lived on the property, causing nerve damage, lacerations, scarring, and disfigurement. The woman filed a lawsuit against the owner of the property and the dogs for medical expenses as well as non-economic damages.

Last month, a Connecticut Superior Court judge determined that the property owner was not negligent regarding her dogs, but that she was responsible for the injuries under Connecticut’s strict liability law. According to the law in Connecticut, the owner of a dog that inflicts physical harm or property damage is liable for the damages caused as long as the victim was not trespassing or teasing or abusing the dog.

Questions Regarding Trespassing

Since the attack took place on the property where the dogs lived, trespassing was an important element in this case. The judge determined that by placing the chair near the road—incidentally blocking a “beware of dog” sign—the dogs’ owner was inviting people to stop and look more closely at the chair. In his ruling, the judge acknowledged that the injured woman technically did enter upon the land of another, but she did so without intent to cause damage and, in fact, did not cause damage. There were no claims that the injured woman teased or abused the dogs in any way.

Ultimately, the court awarded the injured woman $125,000 in non-economic damages and more than $7,000 in medical costs.

Get the Help You Need

If you have been bitten by a dog and believe that the animal’s owner should be liable for your injuries, contact an experienced Hartford personal injury attorney. Call [[phone1]] for a free consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today. We will help you explore your available options and ensure that your rights are fully protected.

 

Sources:

http://www.ctlawtribune.com/id=1202777069066/Judge-Sides-With-Woman-Mauled-by-Dogs-Awards-132295-for-Injuries?mcode=0&curindex=0

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2012/rpt/2012-R-0459.htm

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