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One Bite vs. Strict Liability for Dog Bites

Dog bites claims are not always like other types of personal injury claim. While most personal injury claims require the victim to demonstrate that another party caused his or her injury through negligence, this is not always the case with dog bite claims. Depending on the state in which the dog bite occurs, a dog’s owner could be liable for the victim’ damages regardless of whether he or she was actually negligent. Dogs, like all other animals, can be unpredictable. Strict liability laws for dog owners exist to protect victims when dog bites are beyond the owners’ control.

When a “One Bite” Law Applies

14 states have “one bite” laws in place for dog bites. In these states, a dog’s owner is only liable for a bite victim’s damages if he or she knew, or reasonably should have known, that the dog was aggressive and prone to biting victims. In essence, every dog gets one “free” bite in states with this type of law in place, hence the term “one bite.”

In states with this type of law in place, the victim must demonstrate that the dog had the propensity to bite in order to recover compensation for his or her damages.

Strict Liability for Dog Bites

In most states, including Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, dog owners are strictly liable for any damages their dogs cause victims to suffer through bites. Strict liability means that a dog bite victim does not have to demonstrate that a dog’s owner’s negligence created the conditions that led to the bite. In most cases, a dog’s owner is liable for a victim’s bite-related damages.

However, there are exceptions to this liability. If the dog’s owner can prove that the victim provoked the dog into biting, he or she is not required to cover the victim’s damages. In many states, there are additional circumstances under which a dog’s owner is not liable for the damages his or her dog causes, such as when a dog bites a trespasser.

Each state has specific caveats and legal boundaries for dog bite cases, so discuss the state laws applicable to your case with your lawyer.

Pursuing Compensation for your Dog Bite Damages

A dog bite can result in a serious injury. If you are injured by a dog bite or another type of dog-related accident, seek medical care for your injury as soon as possible. If you need to demonstrate that the dog owner was negligent, your lawyer can help you obtain and use evidence to support your claim.

Work with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are facing financial damages after being bitten by a dog, you have the right to pursue monetary compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about your rights and start working on your claim, contact our team of experienced lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.

Published July 25, 2018
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