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What to Do If You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog in Connecticut

May 20, 2024Articles

A dog can be a beloved companion and family member. However, dogs are also animals with an animal’s instincts and motives. Because most people have a deep, natural fondness for dogs, it’s all the more terrifying and traumatic when a dog viciously attacks and bites. Dog bites are painful, sometimes ending in deep puncture wounds, torn flesh, infection, and scarring. Every year, an average of 12,480 people are hospitalized due to dog bite injuries. Over a thousand Americans died from fatal dog attacks in 2019 alone.

If you’ve suffered injuries from a dog attack in Connecticut and have serious injuries, it’s important to know what to do to protect yourself physically and financially.

What to Do at the Scene of a Dog Attack in Connecticut

If a dog approaches and appears on the verge of attacking, never turn away and run. Instead, remain facing the dog, avoid eye contact, and begin backing away so it doesn’t perceive you as a threat. If a small to medium-sized dog attacks, you may be able to fend off the worst bites by grabbing the dog by its neck with one hand while protecting your face with the other. For a large dog or one that knocks you off your feet, roll into a fetal position with your knees against your stomach to protect your vital organs and cover your head and face with your arms.


After a dog bite, take the following purposeful steps to protect yourself physically and financially:

  • If the dog has been controlled or contained, use your phone to call 911 to report the attack. Request an ambulance and animal control
  • Take photos of the dog, the scene of the attack, and your visible injuries
  • Add the contact information of the dog’s owner if they are present
  • Add the contact information of any eyewitnesses to the attack
  • Go directly to the hospital from the scene of the attack, preferably in an ambulance so you receive immediate medical treatment
  • Keep your torn clothing as evidence of the attack

At the hospital, have a thorough medical evaluation and ask for a detailed medical report of your injuries, the doctor’s recommendations for your treatment, and the prognosis for your recovery, including any need for corrective or reconstructive surgery. This helps you obtain compensation for damages such as medical expenses, future medical costs related to the injury, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering.

Do I Have to Prove Negligence After a Dog Bite in Connecticut?

Connecticut is a strict liability dog bite state. This means the civil court does not require a dog bite victim to prove the dog’s owner’s negligence. Pet owners in Connecticut are responsible for any injuries or property damage caused by their pet from the moment they take ownership or control of the pet. Under Connecticut CGS § 22-357, the law states the following:

“If any dog does any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper … shall be liable for the amount of such damage, except when such damage has been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, was under seven years of age at the time such damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof thereof shall be upon the defendant in such action.”

After suffering dog bite injuries in Connecticut, an experienced New Haven dog bite attorney can help you recover the maximum compensation available under the state’s strict pet owner liability laws.