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Understanding Dog Bite Law And Provocation

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If you have been bitten by a dog recently, then you may be concerned about the medical costs that have amassed due to the bite. Some of the costs can be extremely high, and the dog owner may not be willing to pay for the bills. Many dog owners will use the excuse that their dog was provoked and refuse to pay your medical bills. What exactly does this mean and what kinds of actions are seen as provocations?

What Does It Mean To Provoke A Dog?

Provocation means that you have deliberately annoyed or angered the dog in such a way that the canine felt as though he needed to bite you to protect himself. There are many clear ways that you can provoke an animal, like hitting or teasing, and these clear provocations can lead to the direct loss of a lawsuit or the loss of damages in a dog bite case. However, when it comes to the law, provocation may not actually be a definitive and deliberate act. Accidental provocations can be considered and may be grounds for dismissing a claim.

For example, you may have accidentally stepped on a canine's foot and this may have led to the bite. This is considered a provocation because the law looks at the situation from the dog's perspective. Actions that include reaching in front of a dog while he is eating, petting an unknown dog, or allowing a child to hug a canine may be seen as provocative. While this is true, there are some states that do not consider the acts of young children as ones of provocation. 

What If The Dog Was Known To Bite?

There are some situations where a dog owner may be liable, even if you did something that may be considered an act of provocation. Specifically, if the owner knew that the canine was likely to bite another person, then they are responsible for making sure that a situation does not arise where a bite can occur. 

However, if you knew that the dog was likely to bite and knowingly risked a situation where the bite was possible, then the owner is not liable. This is true as well if you heard the dog bark, growl, or snarl, and still approached him. In this case, you would have been amply warned that the dog was feeling provoked.

You are also placing yourself at risk if you work in an industry where you need to work closely with animals. For example, if you are a groomer, then you knowingly accept the risks of a dog bite as part of your job, and thus, you cannot get compensation for injuries. For more information and help with a dog bite case, consult a dog bite lawyer in your area.