Many of us have been nipped or snapped at by a dog at some point in our lives. Even just a small scare like that can be traumatic. But when an animal attack involves a powerful, aggressive dog and the victim is a small child, the effects can be tragic. When children are bitten by dogs, they can experience scarring, nerve damage, permanent disfigurement, psychological trauma, and – in the worst cases – the attacks are fatal.
The website dogsbite.org reports that 4.5 million dog bites happen each year in the United States. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, and when dog owners fail in that responsibility and your child is injured, it’s important the right people are held responsible.
Mississippi’s dog bite law
Many states have enacted dog bite laws in order to recognize that when a person chooses to own a potentially dangerous animal, they also choose to take responsibility for any harm that animal might cause. Mississippi employs the “one bite rule.” This means the owner of the dog can only be held liable if the dog has shown a propensity for violent or dangerous behavior. In a nutshell, it means the first bite is “free.”
Dog bite law tends to be favorable to child victims of animal attacks. However, this does not mean it’s easy for a victim of a dog bite to get fair compensation, even they are a child. The main issue in any personal injury case comes down to the extent and value of the victim’s damages, and insurers will do anything to minimize their losses and injuries – even when it is a child.
And, even if you feel the law is on your side, there is still room for dog owners to reduce their liability by claiming your child’s own actions contributed to the attack. Insurance companies or the owners of the animal may claim that your child caused the attack or put themselves in harm’s way.
Children never deserve to be hurt, and especially never by their animal friends. If your child was bitten or attacked by a dog, talk to the personal injury attorneys at Taylor Jones Taylor today. We provide honest counsel to clients in Southaven, Olive Branch, Hernando and the surrounding areas. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation, call 662-342-1300 or fill out our contact form to learn more.
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Benjamin L. Taylor is a lifelong resident of DeSoto County and has distinguished himself in the area of products liability and personal injury law. He has a reputation as a fierce advocate for his clients and has obtained millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements over his career. He has been listed in the publication Super Lawyers of the Mid-South in the area of product liability. To learn more about Mr. Taylor, please refer to his biography page.