Dog Bite: Who’s Liable for Your Injury?

an angry dog

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.7 million dog bite incidents occur every year. So who is responsible for these dog bites? Because pets are considered the personal property of owners, depending on the particular circumstances of the incident, some owners might be held liable for the dog bite. Owners might likewise be held responsible for damage to property caused by their dogs.

Understanding Dog Bite Liability

Liability would depend significantly on state law, explains feldmanlee.com. In some states like Washington, Massachusetts, Florida, and California, a dog owner could be held responsible for a dog bite attack even if it’s the first time the dog bit someone and the owner had no cause to think or know that his or her dog might bite another individual. This is called the strict liability rule.

Some states, on the other hand, observe the one bite rule, meaning that a dog owner should know or have cause to tell the dangerous nature of his or her dog before being held responsible for the incident. The standard way that was used to determine an owner’s “supposed knowledge” is by showing that he or she knew the dog biting another individual in the past.

However, there are certain circumstances where a dog owner can’t be held responsible for a dog’s actions. For example, an owner won’t be held liable if a dog bit a criminal while committing a crime, robbing a convenience store for instance, or if a dog bit an individual who’s trespassing on private property.

Filing a Claim for Dog Bite

If you’ve been bitten by a dog and are planning to file a claim against the owner, discuss your case with a local personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer would help you understand your rights, legal remedies that might apply to your case, and try to figure out how much compensation you’re legally entitled to.