Dogs are known as “man’s best friend,” and usually they are great pets. Unfortunately, some dogs bite people and cause injuries. In Connecticut, an owner of a dog is automatically responsible if his dog bites and injures another person. There are exceptions, like if the injured person was committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, abusing, or tormenting the dog.
So, dog bite cases in Connecticut often rely on whether the person who was bitten was doing something wrong, or simply minding his own business. (Kids under seven are presumed to be minding their own business.)
What Can You Recover For?
What you can receive in a Connecticut dog bite case are basically the same as in any other injury. The main difference is the burden of proof.
So, like in other accidents, you might be able to receive economic and non-economic damages. The legal term for this money is “damages”. In Connecticut, an injured person may be entitled to two types of damages – economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are for those things we can basically put an exact dollar amount on. For instance, lost work, sick days, medical bills, future medical bills, repairs, medicine, all have pretty precise dollar amounts and are all called “economic damages.”
Non-economic damages are what you might commonly call “pain & suffering.” There are no precise numbers on what you deserve for pain & suffering; it is up to the jury, or whatever we feel you can fairly settle for.
Dog Bites and RSD
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) may occur as the result of a dog bite or dog attack. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome is a chronic systemic disease characterized by severe pain, swelling, and changes in the skin. RSD is expected to worsen over time. It often initially affects an arm or a leg and often spreads throughout the body.
RSD is considered one of the most painful long term conditions, scoring 42 out of a possible 50 on the McGill pain scale, above such events as amputation and childbirth.
Symptoms of RSD:
Common symptoms of RSD include:
- Burning sensations and pain
- Muscle spasms
- Continuous intense pain throughout the body
- Swelling and stiffness of joints
- Motor disability, with decreased ability to move
- Changes in nail and hair growth patterns
- Skin changes.
Stages of RSD:
RSD generally progress in 3 stages. Not everyone will experience all three stages. Some people may have symptoms in different stages.
- RSD Stage 1 – typically lasts from 1 to 3 months. There is a severe, burning pain in one of the limbs. There may be muscle spasms, joint stiffness and fast-growing hair and nails. Skin color and temperature may also change as blood vessels in the area are affected.
- RSD Stage 2 – usually lasts for 3 to 6 months. Pain in the affected limb, hand or foot may get worse, as may alterations in skin texture and color. Muscle tone may weaken. Inflammation and stiffness may worsen.
- RSD Stage 3 – changes that have occurred so far are usually irreversible at this stage. There will be significant loss of muscle tone in the affected limb, bones may have become contorted, while the joints have become stiffer. The patient will likely find it very hard to use the affected limb. Patients who receive prompt treatment for RSD early on are very unlikely to ever reach this stage.
In some cases there are criminal penalties for allowing a vicious dog to bite someone, and the animal may be put down by the animal control officer.
If you are the victim of a dog bite, in addition to getting money for your injuries, you need to report the bite to the animal control officer responsible for the are the bite took place. The officer is required to investigate the attack and take appropriate action.