Dog Owners’ Liability for Bites and Other Injuries (Part II)

Criminal Liability

Under “dangerous dog laws” in most states, and similar ordinances in many cities and counties, courts could require owners to take special precautions once their animals have threatened or injured someone. The judge could even order that the animal be euthanized if it poses a risk of serious harm. An owner who doesn’t comply with the restrictions could face criminal penalties.

In rare instances in which a dog kills someone because of their owners’ reckless or deliberate actions, authorities could charge the owners with manslaughter or a similar crime. Sometimes, a state will have a specific criminal law applying to severe dog attacks. For instance, Florida authorizes criminal charges against the owner of a dog that seriously injures or kills someone if the owner was aware the animal was

If you find yourself the victim of a dog bite make sure you look around for evidence of where the dog came from.

dangerous but ignored the risk.

If a Dog Hurts You

There are numerous steps you must take immediately after you’ve been bitten or otherwise harmed by a dog:

  • Get the names and phone number of the dog’s owner. Even if you don’t think you’ll be requesting any money, you might change your mind the next day when you realize that jumping out of the way of that lunging dog has resulted in a swollen ankle. If the owner has liability insurance, get that information too.
  • Obtain contact information of any witnesses. You might need them to back up your version of what happened if you and the dog’s owner later disagree or if you don’t know who the dog belongs to. Animal control authorities might be able to find the dog from your description and then find the owner.
  • Take pictures. If you can, get the dog’s picture, your visible injuries, and anything in the vicinity that could support your version of what happened, like a hole in the fence that the dog came through or an open gate.
  • Seek medical attention if you need it. If your injury is serious enough to necessitate medical attention, get it immediately. Keep records of hospital visits, doctor visits, and copies of bills.


Dog Owners’ Liability for Bites and Other Injuries (Part I)

Owners are liable if their dog bites someone.

Dog owners have a legal responsibility to prevent their pets from damaging property or injuring someone. So, when a dog hurts someone, the owner will typically have to pay the victim’s medical expenses, as well as reimburse for time lost from work and pain and suffering. The dog owner’s liability insurance, typically a homeowners’ or renters’ policy, might cover the cost, even if the injury happens off the owner’s property.

Civil Liability in a Nutshell

A dog owner might be liable in a civil lawsuit for a bite or another type of injury caused by the animal if one (or more) of the following is true:

  • The victim can prove that the injury happened because the dog owner was negligent. For example, by violating a local leash law or leaving a gate open and letting the dog run out and bite the mail carrier.
  • A dog-bite statute applies. Several states have strict liability dog-bite laws that make owners financially responsible for dog bites and other injuries in some states regardless of any carelessness or the dog’s history.
  • The victim can prove that the owner knew the dog had a habit of causing that kind of injury. In states without dog-bite laws, dog owners could be responsible under a principle called the “one-bite rule,” which makes dog owners responsible for injuries if they knew or should’ve known that their dogs could hurt someone.

Dog owners may avoid some or all their responsibility for the victims’ injuries if they can prove one of the legal defenses for dog bites and other injuries. Even in states with harsh liability dog-bite statutes, these laws typically don’t apply if the victim goaded the dog or was trespassing at the time of the injury. Moreover, state laws usually lessen or limit the owner’s liability if a dog-bite victim is partly at fault.


A Flurry of States Have Raised Their Smoking Ages…but Big Tobacco’s Involvement Has Some Health Groups Uneasy

If you look around you, you will see that vaping and e-cigarette smoking is on the rise. However, momentum is increasing for a nationwide movement to raise the legal age of tobacco purchase from 18 to 21. Experts say the widespread and worrisome teen vaping epidemic is a big catalyst. But so is support from e-cigarette and tobacco companies, which has some health groups feeling uneasy.

Some states are raising the legal smoking age.

Recently, Texas joined other states in enacting the so-called Tobacco 21 policies. Even more cities and counties have raised their legal buying ages and a host of national retailers have instituted corporate policies that resonate with these legislative efforts.

In Texas, the law will raise the buying age for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just proposed similar legislation at the federal level, and particularly cited high levels of teen e-cigarette use as the main motivator for his bill.

McConnell’s reasoning is familiar. The nationwide rising prevalence of vaping has led policymakers and legislators across the US to really sharpen their focus on tobacco and to look more closely at vaping according to many cancer specialists across the US.

On the surface, it looks like a silver lining to a public-health disaster. Though, several health groups are not sure of the fact that tobacco and vaping businesses like Altria and Juul have thrown their weight behind these policies.

Lobbying from Big Tobacco and Big Vape has aided the Tobacco 21 legislation pass in nine states recently. But, as detailed in a May 23 report from investigative journalism nonprofit the Center for Public Integrity, health groups are against some of these proposed laws since they would preempt stricter policies or include such weak enforcement mechanisms or so many exceptions as to make them mainly ineffective. Texas’ law, for instance, includes an exception for military members.



Legal Responsibilities as a Childcare Worker

As a parent, you depend on childcare workers to care for your children and keep them safe when you aren’t around. Childcare workers can care for your children at your home or in a childcare center. Every state has laws and regulations in place to make sure that all children enjoy a safe and secure environment when their parents aren’t there.

Childcare workers have a lot of responsibility.

Education and Certification

Childcare workers have to satisfy the education and certification requirements in their state. Some states don’t have any education requirements, while some require a high school diploma or a degree in childhood education. Childcare workers in the Head Start program have to be a graduate or enrolled in an associate’s degree program in childhood education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some states and employers also must be certified.


The main legal responsibility of a childcare worker is the safety of the children. You have to comply with state regulations, which could include first aid and CPR certification and plans for emergencies, like fires or tornadoes. Additionally, the home or center has to satisfy sanitary and fire regulations, including fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.

Workers have to know every child’s relevant medical history and are prepared to stop and give first aid for any resulting health problems. This includes conditions like asthma or diabetes and allergies to food, medication or bee stings. Furthermore, if the childcare worker transports children, the vehicle must have the right car and booster seats. If driving is one of the workers’ responsibilities, the childcare center or family might want to check the worker’s driving record.


Childcare workers have to report all suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to law enforcement or Child Protective Services even if they don’t have concrete proof. Some physical signs of abuse are frequent or unexplained bruising, broken bones or dental trauma.

Also, childcare workers can’t abuse children in their care. Some examples of abusive behavior are screaming, yelling, grabbing, and forcing kisses and hugs.

Leash Your Dog! It’s the Law for Many Very Good Reasons

Let me be blunt with you, my dear. We have a huge issue in the canine community, and it’s harming dogs.

We mandate leashes for good reasons. No. 1: being safe for all concerned: safety not only for you and your dog but for every dog and human being on earth.

There are leash laws in many cities. You can be fined for not using one in places that mandate it. Yet, some of you dog owners have determined that this critical law doesn’t apply to your dog.

Be considerate, obey the law, and leash your dog.

I read the sad consequences created by a dog being off-leash every single day. Many responsible owners are walking their dog on leash mainly to keep their dog from having to come face to face with YOUR off-leash dog.

This might be new news to some, but not every dog desires to say hello to each dog it sees every day. Do you, as a human, always want to say hi to everyone you see? I didn’t think so.

Here are some things that can happen to your roving off-leash Rover:

  • Your dog can be hit by a car.
  • Your dog can jump on a senior and knock them over.
  • Your dog can harass wildlife.
  • Your dog can mow down little ones.
  • Your dog can get in the face of other dogs, some of whom will respond with aggression.
  • Your dog can get in a dog fight that will scare both dogs and result in a costly vet bill. After you pay that vet bill, you may now be the owner of one of those dogs who can’t stand to have off-leash dogs in his face.
  • Your dog can be shot, even in a city park (it’s happening in Colorado and other states).
  • Your dog can eat something that may kill him.

Staying Safe at the Beach

Few things shout “summer” more than soaking up some rays with the scent of saltwater in the air and sand between your toes. According to the EPA, Americans take over two billion trips to the beach every year.

The beach can be a fun and exciting getaway but it’s important to remain safe while you’re there.

Sorry, but it’s not all about fun in the sun. A relaxing beach weekend can turn bad with just one rogue wave or one angry sea creature. While many bad beach days end with little more than a sunburn in need of a good soak in some aloe vera gel, serious injuries are more common than you’d want to believe. Here are some tips to help you keep your beach trips as safe as possible.

Have an Action Plan

Before hitting the waves, there are some things to keep in mind. Even if you’re heading to the lake or a pool instead of the ocean, many of the tips below apply to hanging out near any body of water. Regardless of where you’re going, these tips will help you stay safe at the shore.

  • Watch for warning flags and learn what they mean
  • Different beaches and states have different colored flags and assigned meanings; be sure to ask the lifeguard if you’re unsure what the flags mean.
  • Generally, red flags suggest strong surf and currents (i.e., “Be Cautious”). At some beaches, red means the beach is closed. Therefore, be sure to check before going into the water. Yellow flags signify moderate surf and currents. The water might be rough but not dangerous.
  • Exercise caution and stay close to the lifeguards. Green flags mean the ocean is calm or clear.  Blue or purple flags usually indicate that potentially dangerous marine life (sharks or jellyfish) are in the area or have been spotted nearby. Use extreme caution. Also remember: Not all beaches are right for swimming, so know the rules before you set foot on the sand.

Car Seat Laws (Part II)

Infants & Toddlers—Rear-Facing Seats

Car seats like this one can be used both front-facing and rear-facing.

The AAP advises that all infants ride rear-facing starting with their first ride home from the hospital. All infants and toddlers must ride in a rear-facing seat, as long as possible, until they get to the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat manufacturer. Many convertible seats have limits that will let children ride rear-facing for two years or more. When infants outgrow their rear-facing–only seat, a convertible seat installed rear-facing is required.

Rear-Facing Seats Types:

Three types of rear-facing seats are available: 3-in-1, rear-facing–only, and convertible. When children get to the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their rear-facing–only seat, they have to continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible or 3-in-1 seat.

Rear-facing–only seats:

  • Used for infants up to 22 to 35 pounds, based on the model.
  • They are little and have carrying handles.
  • Usually, have a base that can be left in the car. The seat clicks into and out of the base so you don’t have to install it every time you use it. Parents can purchase more than one base for additional vehicles.
  • It should be used only for travel (not feeding, sleeping, or any other use outside the vehicle).

Convertible seats (used rear-facing)

  • It can be used rear-facing and, later, “converted” to forward-facing for bigger children when they outgrow either the weight limit or the length limit, for rear-facing. This means your child can get more usage out of the seat.
  • They are bulkier than infant seats, though, they don’t come with carrying handles or separate bases and are designed to stay in the car.
  • Many have higher limits in rear-facing weight (up to 40–50 pounds) and height than rear-facing–only seats, which make them perfect for bigger babies and toddlers.
  • Have a 5-point harness that connects at the shoulders, at the hips, and between the legs.
  • It should be used only for travel (not feeding, sleeping or any other use outside the vehicle).


Car Seat Laws (Part I)

In the U.S., the federal government has allowed every state to create its own laws regarding child car seats. The result is different regulations, which puts the onus on anyone driving with a child as a passenger to understand car seat laws in the states in which they reside or will be traveling in.

Car seat laws are important to make sure your child is safe at all times.

This can be complex, particularly for folks who live in one state and always travel into a bordering state. Also, it adds extra research for those taking a vacation that necessitates traveling through numerous U.S. states.

To help take the guesswork out of car seat laws in every state, here is the info you must know when traveling with children throughout the U.S.

It should be noted that car seat laws in some states are not as harsh as recommendations issued by safety experts and pediatricians.

Every year, hundreds of young children are killed or injured in car accidents. Correct use of car seats helps keep children alive and safe. But with numerous seats on the market, many parents find this overwhelming. If you are expectant parents, give yourselves enough time to learn how to accurately install the car seat in your vehicle before your baby is born to guarantee a safe ride home from the hospital.

Installation Information: Seat Belts & Latch

LATCH is an attachment system for car seats. Lower anchors can be used in place of the seat belt to install the seat, and many parents find them easier to use in some cars.

The top tether enhances safety offered by the seat and is critical to use for all forward-facing seats, even those installed using the vehicle seat belt. Although the seat belt and LATCH systems are both safe, some might prefer one system instead of the other.

Do Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Reduce Auto Accidents Fatalities?

Each year, thousands of people die due to alcohol and drug-related motor vehicle accidents. To combat the problem of auto accident fatalities, some cities and towns have set up several substance abuse treatment programs. The question is: does establishing a substance abuse program really help in the fight against auto accidents?

There is debate over whether substance abuse clinics have the potential to lower the number of accidents caused by DUI’s.

Studies show that cities and towns where substance abuse programs were established, the number of automobile accidents was reduced from anywhere from 8 to 13 percent. This is positive since, each year, there are over 30,000 motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S. with over 30% being alcohol or drug-related. Several hindrances have been put into place in the past to discourage people from driving while high or intoxicated. For example, alcohol taxes, not selling liquor on Sundays, revoking driver licenses, and raising the legal drinking age are just a few.

Every year, over two million people are treated in a substance abuse facility for alcohol and drug addiction. For those that are seriously addicted, the number of those that are successful at recovering is huge. One very positive result of drivers being treated in a substance abuse program instead of jail or prison is how much less it costs the city and state.

Patients attending a substance abuse program either go on an in-house treatment or an outpatient treatment basis. There are a couple of reasons why a person will choose one over the other. Sometimes, it is voluntary and the person realizes they have a serious problem. Other times, the person is court-ordered and can include the threat of jail or prison time and the removal of children to foster care.

Some counties are known to be “dry” counties, prohibiting the sale of alcohol. However, some motorists bypass this by going to the next town or city and purchasing liquor and drugs. Still, research shows that being a “dry” county does typically reduce the number of automobile accidents every year.


The Meaning of a Strategic Default

As the economy is still in a bad state, more homeowners are choosing to walk away from their homes, leaving not only their residence but the mortgage payments as well. This new trend is what is now being referred to as a strategic default.  This is when a borrower has the money to pay the mortgage but decides not to.

Many homeowners are choosing to walk away from their mortgage payments.

The reason might be that while those, such as banks, government, and big corporations, frown on homeowners that make a decision to go this route and not take responsibility, they do not hold themselves to the same “high” standards. In recent years, there have been several corporations that have been discovered to have stolen pensions from workers that have been there for years, leaving them with no savings. How are these people supposed to afford a mortgage payment every month with no money, after working at a company for 30 or 40 years?

Banks have also been known to “release” businesses from paying their mortgages or lend money to companies with little or no equity. This is not to even mention the help they receive from the government when they supposedly have no money to pay salaries.

Yet, they show up at these meetings, as they did in recent years In Washington, D.C., in limos and private jets. Some banks have also been known to buy defaulted loans or credit cards from other companies. The results are they can’t collect on the debts as well and end up destroying their own creditworthiness.

Another fact that is told to borrowers that choose to strategically default on their mortgage loan is that it will bring down property worth of the neighborhood. While this might be true when you have mounds of debt, do you really care about the property value? A neighbor’s property really isn’t really a concern of another neighbor. This is especially true in a market where if you look up and down any block in America, you are guaranteed to see at least two or three homes in foreclosure.

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