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Connecticut dog bite injuries and liability

Dogs have a reputation as loyal companions and protectors. However, even the friendliest dog may behave unpredictably at times.

Whether from a small, medium or large dog, a bite can cause serious mental and physical wounds. Because of this, Connecticut specifically assigns liability in dog bite incidents to dog owners or keepers.

Strict liability

Strict liability means that If a dog bites someone, the owner or keeper (anyone who happens to have possession of the dog at the time) is liable for any resulting injuries. He or she must pay any damages awarded to the injured for medical or rehabilitative care, pain and suffering or other reasons. He or she also bears responsibility regardless of if he or she was negligent. If negligence was present (failing to put a leash on a dog known to display aggression in the past) a court may also hold the owner or keeper for that. The strict liability policy also covers other non-bite injuries sustained from dogs.


There are two exceptions to the strict liability policy. If someone over the age of seven sustains a bite while trespassing on the owner’s property or while provoking the dog, the law might not hold the owner responsible. However, if a dog bites a person who is lawfully on private property, such as a guest or a postal worker, the owner is usually held strictly liable. Provocation involves teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog in a way that prompts a retaliatory attack.

According to dogsbite.org, an estimated 12,000 individuals end up in the hospital each year because of dog bites. Non-trespassing individuals injured by dogs they did not provoke have the right to receive compensation to cover their medical costs and may receive damages for pain and suffering and other losses, depending on the circumstances. There is a statute of limitations of three years from the incident for filing against the owner or keeper of a dog.