Provocation as a Dog Bite Defense

If you are pursuing a dog bite injury case, one of the defenses you expect the defendant to put up is that you provoked the dog. This defense can be pretty challenging if you don't know how to counter it. You need to understand the provocation defense for you to counter it successfully. Here are some of the questions the court will ask to determine whether you provoked the dog:

What Did You Do?

This is the basic question in this issue because provocation involves an action on your part. Therefore, the court will analyze your actions just before the attack and then determine whether they could have provoked the dog or not. The analysis will involve all actions – both intentional and unintentional – since animals have no way of gauging intentions.

This is necessary because dog experts have determined that dogs are likely to bite when they are threatened or feel that they are threatened, even if the threat isn't real. Examples of actions that dogs consider provocative include raising your arm (the dog will think you want to hit it) or taking a dog's toy (which may include any object the dog considers theirs). In defending yourself, you will probably need an expert witness to analyze your actions and tell the court why they did not provoke the dog.

What Was the Dog Doing and Where Was It?

The answer to this question will provide context for the attack, which is also useful in settling the issue of provocation. This is necessary because dogs react differently to different situations. This means the court will consider whether the dog was chained, feeding, playing or sleeping. For example, bumping into a feeding dog may not elicit the same reactions as bumping into a sleeping dog or a feeding dog.

What Was the Dog's Temperament?

One dog may welcome a kiss while another one may view it as an invasion of personal space, and react accordingly. Therefore, the dog's temperament should be analyzed to determine how they could have reacted to a potential provocation.

Examples of factors that influence a dog's temperament include the breed, a medical problem, medication, the state of hunger, and its hereditary makeup, among other things. In general, if you were bitten by a dog not known for their hair-trigger reaction to perceived threats, then you are likely to be viewed as having provoked the dog. Conversely, if you were bitten by a naturally aggressive breed (such as a Pitbull), then the defendant's defense of provocation isn't likely to hold much water.

For more information, contact a business such as Gregory R Heline & Associates Law Office.