Dog Bites 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.

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 instance:


  • 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.

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 a dog owner in Iowa 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.

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 personal injury lawyer at your earliest convenience. 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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