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.


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.

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.


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