This is a collaborative post.
Dogs have been man’s best friends for many years. From sniffing out prey to detecting bombs, dogs have evolved over the years, assisting man in every possible way.
Security is one reason why most people own dogs. The presence of a dog in a home itself causes most people to be at ease, knowing that their home is well protected. But at the end of the day, a dog is an animal. Any animal, especially those that aren’t trained properly, has the tendency to attack others.
At times like this, you will need the services of experienced dog bite lawyers. These legal professionals give victims all the necessary assistance. Right from proving the animal’s violent tendencies to negotiating a fair compensation for their losses.
It helps to understand the dog bite laws in the US. This knowledge will help in raising awareness of the rights a victim has after a dog bite incident.
Dog Bite Laws in the US
A Forbes Advisor article states that 65.1 million US households have a dog. Another statistic from the same article states that dog owners spend an average of $730 on their dogs in a single year. These numbers show America’s love for pets, especially dogs.
Dog bite laws in the US generally fall into two categories. They are
- Strict Liability
- One Bite
We’ll discuss each of these in the sections below.
According to strict liability rules, the dog owner will be held responsible for the actions of the dog. This means that if the dog attacks someone, the dog’s owner will be the liable party. This rule is applicable regardless of whether the dog has exhibited any signs of aggression in the past.
36 US states follow strict liability rules.
Strict Liability: Exceptions
There are few exceptions to strict liability laws. Dog owners may not be held liable if the attack was the result of provocation. This can be anything from teasing to abusing the dog.
Strict liability laws also may not apply to those who trespass on property. In some states, like South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin, exceptions are made for police dogs that are performing law enforcement-related duties.
One Bite Rule
States that follow the one bite rule punish dog owners only if the dog has shown signs of aggression or if it has attacked someone in the past. This means that if a dog attacks someone for the very first time in its life, the dog’s owner cannot be held liable for the damages the victim suffers.
The one bite rule is applicable in 14 US states.
Even in states that follow one bite rules, the victim can still drag the dog’s owner to court. This can be done if the victim can prove that the owner was unreasonably careless or was negligent in warning that the dog was irritated.
Damages for Dog Bite Victims
As dogs are omnivores, they have sharp teeth that are used to tear meat. These teeth have the potential to cause serious damage when they bite.
Victims of a dog bite are eligible to seek the following damages:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
The victim must also provide the necessary evidence to back their claim that they suffered actual losses due to the dog bite.
Dogs have been a part of humanity, from the early days of hunters-gatherers to the modern world of drone technology. They have evolved to assist humans in every possible way.
As beneficial as dogs, overly aggressive or untrained dogs are a nuisance. Victims of dog bites have to face difficulties because someone did a poor job training their dog.
Victims should consider reaching out to an experienced dog bite lawyer to learn about their legal options.