Area of Law:
Whether you've been recently bitten by a dog or own a dog, you may be wondering about the laws surrounding dog bites. There are various laws that vary by the state which address dog bites and whether or not the dog owner is liable. Here are a few things that you should know about dog bite lawsuits to help prepare you better for future instances.
Owners Are Not Always Liable
Dog bite lawsuits are very state-specific. In some states, there is a strict statute that deems the dog owner as responsible for damages or injuries that are a result of their dog. This is regardless of whether the owner was neglectful or not. For instance, if a tree falls on a fence and lets out the person's dog which ends up biting another person, they may be held liable no matter what. However, in other states, negligence on the part of the owner must be proven for a lawsuit to be brought against them. For instance, not having an aggressive dog on a leash that ends up biting the neighbor's child.
They Have Statues Of Limitations
Just as with other types of lawsuits, you only have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against an offender before you give up that right. The dog bite statutes vary from state to state so it's best to talk with a dog bite lawyer in your state to understand your limitations. In all cases, filing a lawsuit against the dog's owner as soon after the incident occurs as possible is your best solution to avoiding these statutes of limitations on your rights.
The One-Bite Rule Is Phasing Out
Many dog owners are still under the persuasion that the one-bite rule is the only law. The one-bite rule states that the owner of the dog is not liable for any injuries caused by their dog for the first time they bite a person. After the one-bite instance occurs, the dog's owner is now aware of the dog's aggressive tendencies and is liable for any future injury the dog causes. The truth is that the one-bite rule is phasing out. Only a handful of states still enact this dog ownership law including Virginia, Maryland, North Dakota, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.
Victims Can Be Partially Or Wholly In Neglect
In some states, the victims can be held partly or fully liable for their injuries. The jury will take into account contributory factors that show the victim is the one who riled the dog or didn't take necessary precautions to avoid the danger. Some of these contributory actions include ignoring a warning sign such as 'beware of dog', approaching the dog against the owner's warnings to not, and hurting the dog. If a victim is found partially liable for their injury, the jury will determine a percentage that the victim is responsible for. The reward they receive for their injuries will be deducted by the percentage of the victim's liability in the matter.
Dogs have been man's best friend for centuries. Since their induction into the human culture, they have been known to bite from time to time. Understanding what's expected of a pet's owner and what you should do if you've been injured by a dog is a necessity for you to enact your rights when the time arises. The above information should help you to better act in the future when addressed with a dog bite issue of your own.