Bitten by a dog? Here’s what you need to know

Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Personal Injury | 0 comments

Being attacked by a dog can be both physically and emotionally traumatizing. According to jeffsampsonlaw.com, people who suffered from animal attack are faced with a variety of injuries, including hemorrhaging, severe lacerations, fracture, wounds, and deadly infections such as tetanus and rabies. Apart from these physical injuries are the financial difficulties brought about by lost time at work and longer recovery period. In some cases, a dog attack victim may even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the horrifying incident.

Who is exempted?

As a general rule, negligent dog owners in the U.S. should be liable for the damages incurred by a victim of an animal attack. However, there are instances when an owner is exempted from such responsibility. You may not be eligible for compensation if:

  • You are attempting to commit felony
  • You are a trespasser
  • You physically harmed the dog, which provoked it to attack
  • You have been attacked by a dog who was assisting the military or the police
  • You are a canine professional or a veterinarian

Strict liability laws

If you have been attacked by a dog and you are not any one of those mentioned above, you are most likely to be eligible to claim compensation from the dog owner involved. However, your chance of claiming compensation greatly depends on your state’s dog bite statute. Most states, for instance, enact strict liability dog bite laws wherein dog owners are responsible for the damages incurred by the victim even if the victim could have done anything to prevent the situation.

One bite laws

On the other hand, some states adapt an ancient dog bite legal doctrine called one bite rule, or first bite rule. In one bite rule, dog owners are not responsible for the damages done by their pet if they were not aware of its propensity to do harm. The principle behind this doctrine is that all pets are naturally tame, and owners do not know that their pets have the tendency to hurt other people until the first incident of harm. States that enact this type of rule practically allow dogs to have their first bite for free before its owner becomes legally liable. However, owners could still be liable for their dog’s first bite if the owners knew that the particular breed is dangerous.

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