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Do you have a personal injury claim if you were bitten by someone’s pet snake?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2023 | Personal Injury |

While dogs and cats are better known to the majority of the population, snakes are pets to many people as well. In the realm of unusual personal injury cases, getting a bite from someone’s pet snake raises intriguing questions about liability and legal recourse.

When an unexpected encounter with a reptile results in a bite, you may wonder whether you have any grounds for a personal injury claim.

Establishing negligence

Determining liability in such cases often hinges on the concept of negligence. If the snake’s owner failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling or handling their pet, leading to the bite, there may be a foundation for a personal injury claim. Negligence, in this context, involves a breach of the duty of care owed to others, potentially opening the door to legal consequences for the owner.

Exploring strict liability

In certain jurisdictions, laws regarding exotic pets may impose strict liability on owners. This means that owners may be responsible for any harm caused by their pets, irrespective of negligence. If strict liability applies, it could significantly strengthen your position in seeking compensation.

Considering assumption of risk

The owner might assert that you willingly assumed the risk of bites by being in proximity to the snake. While assumption of risk can be a valid defense, it also depends on whether the owner’s negligence or lack of warning contributed to the incident. The key is whether you had reasonable cause to anticipate the danger posed by the snake.

Evaluating provocation

Lastly, you should scrutinize the circumstances leading to the snake bite. If the injured party engaged in behavior that reasonably provoked the snake or increased the likelihood of a bite, it may impact the claim’s success. Understanding the role of provocation in the incident is important in assessing the overall merits of the case.

6 million American households have a reptile as a pet as of 2023. Being bitten by someone’s pet snake may seem overwhelming and scary at first. You should carefully evaluate your options to determine the best course of action.