You often hear about dog bite lawsuits where a dog bites a child. In fact, the Internet was afire recently with a video of a cat saving a 10 year old boy from a dog attack.
Dogs are also a hazard to motorcyclists. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Kass & Moses have handled countless claims where a dog caused personal injuries to an unsuspecting and defenseless cyclist.
In some ways, accidents caused by dogs are easier to recover for than accidents caused by other motorists. That is because accidents such as these are often covered by homeowners’ (rather than automobile) insurance policies. Those policies are often large, unlike the average automobile insurance policy.
Also, liability for these accidents is often clear and as such, the homeowner’s insurance company is more likely to pay for your damages. In many states it is mandated by law that dogs in public be on a leash. As such, a dog-owner’s failure to maintain his dog as such could be evidence of negligence per se, meaning it will be easier to ensure the dog owner is held responsible.
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An accident caused by a dog can result in severe injuries or even death. In a recent motorcycle accident case handled by our office, our client was riding his Kawasaki motorcycle down a local street when an unleashed dog collided with our client’s motorcycle. The collision caused our client to be ejected from his motorcycle and down onto his left hand and side. The client suffered an open fracture of his left pinky finger which was permanently deformed. Our San Diego litigation partner settled the matter for $90,000.00.
What should you do if a dog or other animal approaches you while you’re riding a motorcycle? According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation pamphlet “You and Your Motorcycle: Riding Tips,” you should:
- “Slow down well before you reach the animal.”
- “Do not – repeat – do not kick at the animal.”
- “If the animal looks like he’s going to intercept you, speed up just as you are about to reach him. It will throw his timing off.”
If you do get in an accident with a dog, the most important factor in your ability to bring a claim for damages is to identify the dog that caused the accident and its owner. As such, if you are able, provide the police a good description of the animal and/or, if you can, try to identity its owner at the scene of the accident.
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Conducting an immediate investigation into the facts of an accident involving a motorcycle and a dog is critical to your chances of succeeding in your claim for damages. If you or someone you know was involved in a motorcycle versus dog accident, contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at Kass & Moses.