Personal Injury Lawsuits Filed over Dog Bites, Dog Bite Laws VaryMar 30, 2017
Suing over a Dog Bite Injury
Laws concerning liability from dog bites vary between states. Over half of the states in the country have strict liability laws, or dog-bite statutes. This means that a dog owner is liable for dog bite injuries regardless of whether they had reason to believe the dog was dangerous. Other states have less stringent laws, where the victim has to show that the owner failed in their duty of care.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing clients in personal injury lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a dog bite injury lawsuit.
Strict liability means that a party is liable without the plaintiff having to prove negligence. If the dog caused injury in a state that implements strict liability, the owner is liable even if he or she did not do anything wrong. Although these laws are often referred to dog-bite statutes, many times dog-related injuries other than bites are also covered.
In states with dog-bite statutes, plaintiffs need to prove that they were injured by the dog, that the defendant owned the dog and the plaintiff was acting peaceably in an area they had the right to be. Additionally, whether or not the dog was provoked also affects liability in dog bite lawsuits. The plaintiff must show that they did not provoke the dog to bite.
In some states, such as in Arizona, the dog-bite statute only covers dog bites. In other states without dog-bite statutes, the "one-bite" rule applies. This means that a dog owner is liable for injuries only if they had reason to believe the dog was dangerous. For example, if your dog tries to bite someone, from that point on you are liable if someone else gets bitten by your dog. Provocation also plays a role in these cases. Again, the injured party must show that they did not provoke the dog to bite.
Dog Bite Injuries, Deaths in the News
Stories of dog bites often make the news, drawing attention to the issue. For example, on Mar. 27, 2017 WRAL News of North Carolina reported that a toddler was bitten by a family dog. Reportedly, the dog bit the two-year-old boy in the face when he approached it in the family's yard. The child was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Some dog bite injuries are more serious than others. According to an article published by The Guardian on Mar. 29, 2017, an owner was mauled to death by his own dog during a BBC interview. Reportedly, the man was with the BBC film crew when his Staffordshire bull terrier bit him in the neck. He was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead two hours later. Neighbors say that the dog has attacked his owner before. "There were one or two previous occasions when the dog attacked," a neighbor said to The Guardian. "Six or seven months ago the dog bit him on the leg. We heard him shout at the dog and he came running out with blood on his leg."
On Mar. 24, 2017, Lincoln Journal Star reported that a man was hospitalized due to dog bite injuries. He suffered from bites and scratches. The injuries were reported to be non-life-threatening. Police say they had difficulty controlling the dog, and used a taser. The dog's owner had an outstanding warrant and was taken into custody.
In the UK, a woman needed 20 stitches due to a dog bite. Derby Telegraph reported on Mar. 26, 2017 that a woman was walking her own dog when a German Shepherd "horrifically attacked" her. Reportedly, the dog was in a garden and jumped over a fence before biting her thigh. "I had to take four weeks off work as a result of the attack. The dog was out of control and I was shaking throughout the incident," the victim said, according to Derby Telegraph.
One young girl under the age of seven was hospitalized after being bitten by her neighbor's two German Shepherds. Local news station KRDO reported on Mar. 21, 2017 that the girl climbed over the fence into her neighbor's yard and sustained bites all over her body.
Legal Help for Personal Injury Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing victims injured by negligence or misconduct. If you or someone you know was injured by someone else's wrongdoing, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).