While cat attack lawsuits aren't as common as those associated with aggressive dogs, they can happen. And if you own an aggressive or mean cat that has swiped at friends or family members or actually injured them, you may be in a tough legal situation if they decide to sue you.
Owners Are Often Liable In Cat Scratch Cases
When a friend visits your home and gets scratched by a cat, you are likely liable for the actions of your cat. That's because you owe your friends and visitors the assurance that they won't get injured by an animal. You need to take steps to ensure that any pet that you own doesn't bite or injure others.
This liability is particularly likely if you know that the cat has had issues with the person it scratched in the past or if it has injured others. Past dangerous behavior from a pet means you are liable for taking steps to ensure that it doesn't happen to anyone else who visits you again.
Even A Non-Serious Injury May Cause Issues
While cat scratches and bites are rarely as physically damaging as those by dogs, they can be dangerous for other reasons. For example, cats often have bacteria in their nails and their teeth that can get into your skin when they bite you. This infection is often called cat scratch disease or cat scratch fever.
When people suffer from this disease, they experience symptoms such as bumps, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fever, a loss of appetite, and even chills. If your friend or visitor develops this disease and needs treatment after your cat has bit or scratched them, you are liable for their treatment.
When You Aren't Liable
Liability in personal injury cases is typically put on the shoulders of those who caused the accident. If your negligence and failure to take appropriate steps caused your friend to be injured, you are liable. However, the injured person may be liable if they:
- Aggravated an obviously annoyed cat
- Ignored your warnings about the cat
- Bothered the cat in the past and continued to annoy it
Essentially, you need to show that the injured person somehow behaved in a way that caused the cat to scratch them. For example, if they got scratched after they picked up the cat and held it when it was clearly annoyed (and after you warned them to stop), you are not to blame.
So if you are in a lawsuit with somebody who was injured by your cat, you need to contact a professional personal injury lawyer. These experts will take the time to fully understand your case, assess what happened, and find a defense that saves you money and keeps your cat from being put under for aggressive behavior. Go to sites like this one for more information.