Dog Bite Injuries and Liability | Galligan Law


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Dog Bites

Iowa Dog Bite Basics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs every year – and half of them are children. In about 20 percent of dog bite cases, the victim’s injuries are severe enough to require medical attention. Over 27,000 people in the U.S. had reconstructive surgery in 2012 due to dog bite injuries.


Recovering from these injuries is expensive for the victim. Especially if surgery is needed. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been hurt by a dog bite, you might deserve legal compensation for your injuries. Learn more about Iowa dog bite laws and what to do if you’re hurt.

Children face highest risk of dog attacks

Although anyone can be the victim of a dog attack, certain individuals tend to face a higher risk than others. In particular, children between the ages of 5 and 9 are more likely to be bitten by dogs than members of any other age group. Furthermore, children injured by dog bites are more likely than adults to need medical attention.


In order to minimize the risk of being bitten or attacked by a dog, it is important to keep a few safety tips in mind. For example:


  • Do not touch or approach an unfamiliar dog
  • Do not leave babies or small children alone with a dog
  • Do not touch a dog without giving it a chance to sniff you first
  • Do not interrupt a dog while it is eating or sleeping


When approached by an unfamiliar dog, the CDC advises against screaming or running away. Instead, the CDC recommends remaining motionless and, if knocked to the ground, rolling into a ball and lying still.

Des Moines Dog Bites

Even though they’re not always newsworthy, like car crashes on Highway 137, dog attacks do still happen in Des Moines, Iowa. For instance, back in October 2019, an aggressive dog was attacking the mail carrier and residents on Ninth Street in West Des Moines. In fact, it was so bad that the residents were not getting their mail because of these dog bites.┬áThe owners were instructed to keep the dog restrained. But the city eventually confiscated the dog.


Another incident back in September 2018 occurred when a dog attacked its owner on East Clinton Avenue near the 2100 block. Witnesses of the dog attack called 911 and reported the victim was bleeding and severely injured. When the police officer arrived on the scene, he fatally shot the dog in order to protect the victim.

Iowa Dog Bite Law

In Iowa, the law provides that the owner of a dog is typically liable for any injuries that occur if the dog attacks or bites another person. This is true even if the dog owner took measures to minimize the chance of injury, for instance by keeping the dog on a leash or in a fenced area.


An exception applies, however, if the injured person was injured while breaking the law in a manner that directly contributed to the injury. For example, it is unlikely that an Iowa dog owner would be liable for injuries suffered by a burglar during a break-in. Iowa law also makes an exception from liability in certain cases for injuries caused by rabid dogs.

Working with an Iowa dog bite injury attorney will help you navigate all the ins-and-outs of dog bite liability laws.

Call a lawyer for help after a dog attack

If you or a member of your family has been hurt by a dog in Iowa, be sure to protect your legal rights by contacting a Des Moines personal injury lawyer at your earliest convenience. Because dog bites are only one of many types of liability injuries, a personal injury lawyer or attorney can double as either a dog bite injury lawyer or attorney.


A lawyer with experience in Iowa dog bite cases can help you review your options and will work with you to pursue the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.

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