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Dog Bites

Sizzling LEO | 3:48 AM | 0 comments

Each year, nearly 800,000 Americans are the victims of a dog bite, which is serious enough to require medical attention. The “one free bite rule” is a name for a legal doctrine that determines if the dog owner can legally be held responsible for injuries caused by their pet. The premise under this rule allows the dog owner not to be held liable the first time their dog bites or inflicts injury to someone. However, this type of dog attack law only protects the owner if they followed all of the local laws pertaining to dogs. If the dog owner was in violation of local leash laws when the attack occurred, they can be held legally responsible. The one-bite rule would also be waived if the owner was aware or should have been aware of their dog’s propensity to be dangerous. This can be established by the following:

• The dog has a history of barking at strangers

• The dog often growls and snaps at anyone who comes near it

• The dog has a habit of jumping on others when visitors are present

• The owner often puts a muzzle on the dog

• The dog has been trained to fight other dogs

Whether the state follows the one bite rule, the dog owner can be held liable if they were negligent in the handling or confinement of a dog.

Determining Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Most states throughout the nation hold the owner of the dog strictly liable, even if the owner was not at fault. A majority of compensation claims are paid under the homeowner’s insurance policy, which includes coverage for damages and liability caused by domestic animals. The dog attack laws vary in each state, which can be broken down by these three types of liability:

• Negligence Laws—The owner is liable for the injury because the owner was careless or negligent in controlling the dog.

• Strict Liability—The owner is automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes without provocation.

• One Bite Rule—The owner of the dog is not liable for damages caused the first time the dog bites a victim unless the owner knew or should have known that the dog had a propensity for violence.

Some states have moved away from the one free bite rule and the owner can be held responsible for any and all injuries caused by their dog, whether the animal has previously demonstrated vicious or aggressive tendencies. A victim may use the legal doctrine of premises liability when the person is harmed on the property of the dog owner. This is a specific form of negligence that applies to landowners and landlords. If a landlord knows that a vicious dog currently lives with one of their tenants and fails to do anything to control the dog, the landlord can be held liable. Determining liability will depend on where you live and which dog attack law applies in that state.

How a Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help

A dog owner may not be held liable if any of the following occurred during the incident:

• The victim was trespassing onto private property

• The victim was a professional that works with animals, such as a veterinarian or kennel owner

• The victim was committing a felony at the time

• The victim provoked the dog and was over the age of 5 years old at the time

• The dog was assisting the police or the military at the time

Dog bite cases can be extremely serious and cause undue consequences on the pet’s owner. Therefore, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney specializing in dog bites who will make sure that your rights are protected at all times.

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My name is Wajeeh . I'm administrator of All Legal Law. This blog is opened for the purpose of Guest Blogging of Law and Constitution.