Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, PhD, CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”


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Expert opinion about dog bite negligence

Expert opinion about dog bite negligence may be needed in any given lawsuit to determine if liability exists against a defendant, such as a dog owner or landlord of a property with a dog resided.  Allegations of dog bite negligence is probably the most frequently filed complaint against defendants in dog bite lawsuits.  As such, attorneys may feel the need to seek expert opinion to substantiate whether the defendant acted in a negligent fashion with regard to how the dog was managed.

Negligence by a landlord or dog owner can take different forms. Frequently, issues involved are about a defective fence the landlord did not repair, a dog off leash in a public setting, lack of adequate latches or locks on a gate or door, failure to muzzle dog, use a certain kind of training equipment,  failure to properly restrain the dog in a given set of circumstances, and the extent of control and owner had over the dog at the time of an incident.expert opinion may be needed with regard to the steps that should have been taken by the defendant to prevent the incident from happening.

Issues about negligence vary according to the defendant.  For example, the kind of negligence that might arise in the veterinary hospital (i.e. allowing dogs off leash in the waiting room) differs from what might be deemed negligence by a landlord associated with the property where the dog lived (fence of the property to close to the sidewalk). In all instances, the totality of the circumstances need to be carefully analyzed. In addition, questions about the behavioral propensities of the dog in question need to be answered, and if the  incident in question was foreseeable given the circumstances present at the time of the incident.

The degree of negligence by the defendant is another issue that occasionally arises in dog bite lawsuits. In those cases where the plaintiff feels the defendant showed  a “despicable disregard” for public safety, then punitive damages may become part of a lawsuit.

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 Richard Polsky, PhD has 30+ yrs. experience as an expert in assessing negligence in dog bite lawsuits. He is available to render expert opinion to both plaintiff and defense attorneys about negligence in dog bite cases.