Although dogs are usually man’s best friend, this isn’t always the case. If you are the victim of a dog attack, then dogs might be your worst enemy. However, the blame doesn’t only reside with the dog. It also resides with the dog’s owner. If you suffer from dog bites, legal advice is necessary. You might be able to get compensation from the dog owner. Find out the laws regarding dog bites, and what you can do about your bite.
Dog Bites, Legal Advice, and the Law
When a dog bites, legal advice may be the only way for you to get justice. However, the type of justice that you get varies on a state-by-state basis. While some states are stricter when it comes to dog bites, others take the issue less seriously.
That said, you can usually break down the laws into two basic types. First, there’s liability when you knew that the dog might bite someone. If you have an aggressive dog, then it is your responsibility to keep your dog away from others. Failing to do so makes you responsible for the dog bite.
Second, there’s liability for the dog owner no matter what may be the situation. Whether or not a dog owner knew that his dog might bite, he is responsible for the event. In states that have this type of liability, the dog owner is responsible for the actions of his dog. If your dog bites, legal advice might be necessary. You could need someone to defend you in court.
Liability for an Aggressive Dog
In the past, a dog owner was not responsible for his dog’s actions if the owner had no reason to believe that he would bite. More specifically, he would not be liable if the dog never bit anyone else. If a dog bit only one person, then the owner would have had no reason to know that he was aggressive. Therefore, it became known as the “one bite” law. Legally, an owner took no responsibility if only one bite occurred.
However, the one bite rule is not always accurate. Before a dog bites someone, it is possible for an owner to know that a dog is aggressive. If a dog has certain character traits or recently acted aggressively, then the dog’s owner could bear the burden of legal responsibility.
An owner needs to consider several details about dog before he can decide whether he is a bite risk. For one, he needs to consider his dog’ temperament. A dog who is typically bad around children could become aggressive around children. Another consideration is recent events. If he had surgery, he might be likely to bite someone who pets him near the incision.
It’s also important that the owner takes the precautions to protect others from an aggressive dog. For example, you might keep your dog on a leash and make him wear a muzzle. If you take these precautions, then you are doing your job. However, failing to protect others from your dog makes you liable. This could mean allowing your dog to be off a leash or bringing him to a crowded place. If you put others at risk from a dog who you know to be aggressive, then you are at fault.
On the other hand, no one can hold you at fault if you warn someone. For example, you might tell a neighbor not to touch your dog on the tail. If he fails to heed your warning and gets bit, then he has no case. When he gets dog bites, legal advice cannot help him. The incident falls on his shoulders.
In other states, the dog owner takes strict liability. It does not matter if the owner had no reason to think that his dog would bite. Whether or not you could prevent the dog bite, you take responsibility for your dog’s actions. However, there are still two main circumstances that the incident needs to involve. First, there needs to be proof that the plaintiff entered the area of the incident legally. If he broke into your home or trespassed on your property, then the law does not apply. He cannot hold you responsible for the bite.
Secondly, there needs to be evidence that the plaintiff did not provoke your dog. If he did something extreme to upset your dog, then you hold no responsibility. For example, acting violently towards the dog could cause him to bite. In this case, you would not be responsible.
It is important to recognize that the laws regarding strict liability dog bites vary. For example, some states restrict the strict liability law to public property. If it occurs on private property, then the plaintiff has no case. You need the help of a lawyer to understand your state’s specific laws. Regardless of your situation, for incidents involving dog bites, legal advice is a necessity.