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Can breed factor into a dog bite injury claim?

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2023 | Dog Bites |

Some people choose what dog to adopt or purchase based on its breed. Those seeking companion animals may have different needs than those who want a working animal, like a farm dog that will protect the livestock or a security dog that will defend their home when they are not present or asleep.

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and temperaments. Any dog can potentially become dangerous with little provocation or warning. They can attack and severely injure people. Those hurt by an aggressive dog may expect to file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit.

Could a dog’s breed have any significant influence on the injury claim that may follow a dog bite incident in New Hampshire?

Owners are liable regardless of breed

New Hampshire does not prohibit owning most standard breeds of dogs. People can have a toy poodle or a rottweiler, provided that they train the animal, keep it on a leash in public and maintain appropriate state licensing for it. Dog owners in New Hampshire are subject to a strict liability law that makes them accountable for injuries their animal causes in most cases. However, a dog’s breed might influence what types of compensation people receive if the animal becomes aggressive.

Insurance providers underwriting homeowners and renters insurance policies sometimes have rules about different breeds of dogs that have a strong association with severe or fatal dog bite attacks. Homeowners may not be able to maintain the same type of insurance if they own a dog classified as part of a restricted or dangerous breed by their insurance provider. Other times, they can keep their policy but must pay far more for their liability coverage.

Some people try to avoid that risk by lying about the presence of the dog or its breed. They may then assume that their policy should pay for someone’s injuries, only to learn later that the company refuses to pay for the damages the animal caused. That specific scenario could potentially lead to someone needing to file a lawsuit against the animal’s owner, as they may not have any other way of recouping the losses generated when the dog became aggressive.

Learning more about dog bite law and insurance rules may help those injured by someone’s pet. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.