Dogs are wonderful companions. However, these friendly canines can cause serious injuries if provoked, overexcited or frightened. Worse still, they can transmit diseases like rabies, cellulitis or Capnocytophaga when they bite. If you are hurt by someone else’s dog, you may seek damages from the dog owner through a premises liability lawsuit.
Unfortunately, a seemingly straightforward dog attack claim isn’t always easy to make. Here are three common reasons why some dog attack claims are denied:
The owner alleges you provoked the dog
If the other party claims you provoked the dog into the attack, that can complicate your claim. Examples of behaviors that may amount to provoking an otherwise friendly dog include:
- Hitting the animal
- Trapping the animal in a small space
- Pulling or stepping on the animal’s tail
- Taking away the animal’s food
The owner may genuinely believe you provoked the animal, or they may be seeking to minimize their responsibility, but it’s definitely a barrier that has to be overcome.
The owner alleges you were trespassing
You will have a difficult time asserting a claim under the New Mexico dog bite statute if you were trespassing – but it’s important to note that you weren’t trespassing just because the owner says so. If you were there on legitimate business (such as reading a meter), then you were not actually a trespasser.
You did not file your claim in time
Every state has a time period within which you must file a claim against the animal owner in the event of a dog attack. This is the statute of limitations period, and in New Mexico, you have up to 3 years from the date of the attack to file your claim.
A dog attack can leave you seriously hurt. Knowing your legal rights and obligations can help you avoid costly pitfalls that can lead to your claim’s refusal.