Liability for a cat bite injury depends on many factors: where you were when you were bitten, whether you provoked the bite, the cat’s temperament, and local and state laws. Whether an insurance company covers a bite will also depend on the cat owner’s insurance policy. Each situation is different. Here are some examples:
- You decide to cut through your neighbor’s yard on your way to the park. You startle her sleeping cat, and the cat responds by biting. In this case, you were trespassing on the cat owner’s property. It is unlikely that the cat owner will be found liable for your injury.
- You are visiting a friend who has a temperamental cat. She shuts the cat in a bedroom, but her husband goes in and forgets to close the door. The cat escapes and bites your child. In this case, the cat owner knew the cat was dangerous and failed to take proper precautions to prevent injury.
- Your neighbor’s cat walks into your house through an open door. You are allergic to cats so you try to shoo it out. The cat bites you. Your neighbor may be liable because the cat was off her property.
In Iowa, a cat owner has the responsibility to report the bite to the local health department or a law enforcement officer. An animal control officer will investigate the bite and determine if the victim is at risk of contracting rabies. But Iowa law has little to say about liability for bites from animals other than dogs.
If you were seriously injured by a cat, the best thing to do is to talk to a personal injury attorney who is familiar with local and state animal bite laws. The attorney will determine if you have a case and whether there is compensation available through the cat owner’s home insurance, renter’s insurance, animal insurance, or car insurance policy. To discuss your case, please call Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.