Can You Sue a Dog’s Owner for The Dog Causing You to Fall?

Categories: Safety Tips

dog causing fall

A dog attack is more than bites and lacerations; sometimes, a person could suffer from a serious fall that leads to more traumatic injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This can not only happen due to a dog running after you while you are walking, jogging, or on a bicycle, for example.

Pet owners and those visiting a pet’s home are injured by the thousands each year because of pet-induced falls. In fact, a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that more than 80,000 Americans are admitted to emergency rooms across the country for pet-related falls.

About the Study

The CDC compiled data from 2001 to 2006. It specifically sought information about pet-caused falls among owners and visitors. In that five-year period alone, the CDC found 86,629 falls linked to dogs and cats. The biggest cause of falls came from walking dogs or chasing the family pet. Those over the age of 75 were more likely to suffer from a serious injury, too. The typical injuries for pet-related falls were abrasions, contusions, and bone fractures.

More Injuries by Dogs

Over 85 percent of the pet-related falls and injuries were caused by dogs, not cats. There are also instances where individuals breaking up dog fights, running from a dog, and tripping over the dog led to significant injury.

Can You Sue for a Non-Aggressive Dog Injury?

Most of the time, when you think of an injury lawsuit due to a dog injury, you think of an aggressive attack. However, there is such a thing as a non-aggressive dog injury. Falls and trips over a dog are an example of a non-aggressive injury.

Non-aggressive injuries are still costly for the victim. From emergency room costs to medical bills and time away from work, those injuries add up quickly.

Most Common Non-Aggressive Dog Injuries

These can include the following:

  • Tripping over a dog
  • Falling over a dog
  • Being knocked down by a dog
  • Being knocked down a flight of stairs by a dog
  • Being scratched or cut by an excited dog
  • Being head-butted by a large dog.

Large dogs can easily weigh more than 100 pounds, and when a large dog jumps on an adult, it has the force to quickly overtake him or her and push the person to the ground – even if the dog did not intend to cause harm.

Is the Owner Liable for a Non-Aggressive Attack?

For a dog’s owner to be liable for a non-aggressive attack, he or she must act negligently. If you were trespassing on the premises and the dog was excited and jumped and knocked you over, the owner did nothing wrong.

Some instances where the dog’s owner could be liable include:

  • The dog was not on a leash and was out in public
  • The dog was not in a fenced or contained yard
  • The owner could not control the dog, even though it was on a leash

Because there was no bite in this type of injury, a dog’s owner may be excused from criminal or civil liability. However, every case is different. If a dog’s owner knows that the dog has a history of jumping on people and knocking them over, but the owner fails to leash the dog out in public, that owner may be held liable regardless of whether the dog has never bit before.

Speak with a Philadelphia Dog Bite Attorney

An attorney with experience in dog attacks (both aggressive and non-aggressive) can help determine if your fall caused by a dog is eligible for compensation.

Schedule a consultation with Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. today by calling him on his cell at 215-771-0430 or at the office at 215-987-3550.  Have a question? You can reach out to him on his online contact form or through live chat.