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Dog Bites & Animal Attacks
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Things to Know About Dog Bites Law

Millions of people every year are victims of dog bites. About 800,000 of these bites result in injury. If you are one of the thousands injured, it is important that you understand the dog bites law in your state.

By having a basic understanding of dog bites law, you will be able to determine whether you can file a dog bite lawsuit to collect damages, or compensation for your injuries. These damages are designed to reimburse you for expenses such as medical costs and lost wages due to time off from work due to your injuries.

Liability Under Dog Bites Law

One of the most important things to know about dog bites law is owner liability. You will only be able to win your dog bite claim if you can prove that the dogs owner is liable for the dogs actions.

There are three types of dog bites laws that dictate liability. Different states will use different laws, so it is important that to check your states laws if you believe you have a dog bite claim.

The three types of dog bite laws are:

  • Strict liability
  • "One Bite" laws
  • Negligence laws

Strict Liability Laws

If you live in a state with strict liability dog bites laws, then you will have a good chance at having a claim against a dog owner whose dog bites you. Under strict liability laws, the dog owner is liable for almost any kind of injury his or her dog causes. This is true even if the dog has never injured someone in the past.

There are some exceptions to strict liability. For example, if you were trespassing on the dog owners property when the dog bit you, then you could not hold the dog owner liable. The same is true if you were in anyway taunting the dog, especially by hitting the pet. Finally, if you are a veterinarian and were injured while working on an animal, you will probably not be able to hold the dog owner accountable.

One-Bite Laws

A more lenient version of strict liability laws is one-bite laws. Under one-bite laws, the dog must show some sort of dangerous propensity for the owner to be held accountable for any injuries the dog causes.

A number of things could constitute a dangerous propensity. The most common criterion is that the dog has bitten someone in the past. If a dog has already caused injury once, then the owner should know the dog might injure someone else. Therefore, the dog owner should be taking proactive steps to see to it that this doesnt happen. If the dog does, however, bite someone, then the victim could hold the dog owner accountable.

A dog might also have a dangerous propensity if the animal has a habit of snapping at people, is forced to wear a muzzle because it may cause injury, or if the owner continuously warns people that the dog bites.

Dog Owner Negligence

Finally, most states have some form of negligence laws that pertain to dog bite injuries. The dog owner is negligent if his actions or behavior are reckless or careless, and result in the dogs injuring someone else. If this happens and the actions are found to be negligent, then you may have a claim against the dog owner.

There are many examples of negligence. Frequent examples that pertain to dog bites include the owner not obeying leash laws, the dog not being fenced in a pen that is adequately secure, and the owner not taking reasonable steps to prevent his or her dog from attacking people.

If you think you might have a claim against the owner of a dog who has attacked and injured you, you should consult a personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable about dog bites law.