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What happens after a dog bite attack in Montana?

People say that dogs are "man's best friend," but in reality, dogs can pose a danger to people, especially small children. While the majority of dogs are companionable and trained well enough not to injure people, some dogs are more aggressive.

It only takes a second for a dog to jump over a fence or make a dash when out without a leash, resulting in a severe injury and possibly emotional damage as well. Dogs of any breed can cause serious injuries, especially if delicate areas, like the face, get bitten. When a dog attacks and injures a human, there can be serious consequences for all involved.

Dog bites can cause pain, disfiguring injuries or even loss of function if there is a severe bite that tears tendons or injures areas like the hands or feet. Victims may require trauma care, as well as surgery or even physical therapy to recover. When small children are the victims of a dog bite attack, the result can be years of fear and a need for ongoing medical intervention.

Plastic surgery will be performed in stages, with the child needing new procedures whenever he or she has grown a substantial amount. The victim and his or her family shouldn't have to shoulder that expense.

Montana laws hold dog owners accountable

Montana law about dog bites is clear. Dog owners should ensure that their pets do not pose any threat to humans. That means enclosing them when they are in the yard, training to prevent attacks and keeping the dog collared and on a leash in public places. Whether you were in a park or visiting someone's house, if a dog bites you without provocation, the owner of the animal is liable.

There are several limits to these laws. The first is that those who are trespassing or illegally on a person's property will not get protected under law. If the dog bites someone trespassing, the owner will not get held responsible for those injuries. The second limit is that the law states explicitly that dog bites on private property are only covered if they occur in an incorporated town or city. Rural settings can pose a more difficult liability situation.

Insurance or civil lawsuits can offer compensation

In the event of a serious dog bite attack, you will have several options for recourse. The first is coverage by the dog owner's homeowner or rental insurance policy. Many policies have special riders for medical coverage related to dog bites or other animal attacks. If the person was uninsured or the insurance company won't offer reasonable compensation, it may be time to consider a civil lawsuit to recover the medical expenses associated with the dog bite attack.

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Hartelius, Durocher & Winter, PC Channing Hartelius, Roland Durocher, Jeff Winter

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