Animal Bite Law
Guide to Dog Bite and Animal Attack Law
Animal Bite Laws are created at the state level, through statutes and common law, so they vary across the U.S. These laws help to determine if a pet owner is liable when his/her animal bites someone. When a person is injured by an animal bite, the bite victim may sue the animal’s owner or another responsible party for damages, under Personal Injury Tort Laws.
Other parties that can also be held liable for damages caused by an animal bite include: animal keepers, who are responsible for the care and custody of an animal, such as a kennel, pound or animal sitter; property owners, when they have allowed the animal on their property; landlords, if they knew that their tenant owned a dangerous animal; and parents of minors who owned the animal or behaved negligently with an animal which led to injury.
Most states impose strict liability laws with regard to animal owners. This means that an animal owner is legally responsible for his/her animal biting, regardless of whether the owner showed actual negligence or fault. In these states, if the animal injures a person, the owner will be liable for any damages the person suffers as a result of the dog bite, even if the animal had never shown vicious tendencies before, or the owner had no knowledge of these tendencies.
The only defense the animal owner may have in these cases is intentional provocation of the animal by the victim, which means inciting, encouraging, or provoking the animal to bite. Additionally, law enforcement agencies that use dogs in the apprehension of criminal suspects may be exempt from liability.
In other states, the owner’s liability is dependent upon his/her knowledge of the animal’s dangerous or vicious propensities. If the victim can show that the owner had knowledge that the animal was dangerous and could injure someone, the owner may be liable for damages when his/her animal causes injury to someone. However, if the animal owner adequately warned others of the dangerousness of the animal and took the proper measures to keep the animal from others, there may be no liability, due to contributory negligence. This means the victim contributed to his own injury by failing to exercise reasonable care and knowingly taking the risk of being injured by the animal.
The damages that can be recovered in a successful animal bite claim include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damages. Although it is sometimes possible to recover punitive damages, but to do so it must be shown that the responsible party was not merely negligent, but was actually reckless or intentionally incited the injury.
Know Your Rights!
Articles on HG.org Related to Animal Bite Law
- Identifying the Parties Responsible for Dog BitesDog bites continue to be an ongoing problem, resulting in serious injuries and civil lawsuits being filed. Knowing which parties share responsibility for the injury helps identify potential defendants in a personal injury case.
- Potential Defendants in California Dog Bite Accident CasesUnlike other states that use a “one bite” rule for dog bites, California imposes a strict liability statute that holds dog owners responsible for the injuries their dogs cause. However, there may be other potential defendants based on the circumstances involved in the case.
- Determining the Cause of Dog Bites and How to Prevent ThemWhen a dog bites someone, it is easy to blame the dog. However, the dog likely does not have any financial resources from which the victim can be compensated. Therefore, the law imputes responsibility on the dog’s owner.
- Who Is at Fault if You Get Bit by a Dog in IdahoWho is at fault if someone gets bit by a dog? Is it the owner of the animal? Perhaps the individual who came too close and threatened the animal? Read more here.
- Dog Bite Liabilities: What Should You Do if You Were Bitten by a Dog?Did you know that a dog's owner is responsible for attacks? It is not uncommon for pedestrians to be bitten by dogs in a variety of situations. A simple leisurely afternoon stroll around your neighborhood can result in a violent dog attack. When an accident like this occurs it is imperative to follow simple steps to maximize compensation.
- Florida’s New Service Animal Laws – A Nail without a HammerWhen it comes to service dogs and assistance animals, people often confuse the Federal American with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). The ADA laws apply only to commercial (non-residential) settings. They apply to specifically trained service dogs (and the very occasional miniature horse).
- Laws for Large Breed Dogs in New JerseyOn May 11, 2015 the Responsible Dog Ownership Act was introduced in New Jersey by Democrat assembly members.
- What You Need To Do After Being Bitten By a Vicious DogDog bites occur all the time across the country. Something many people do not realize is that you have legal rights if a dog bites you. You can file a claim to be compensated for anything from medical bills to lost wages.
- Fight Or Flight: Defending Yourself Against Dog Bites and AttacksMillions of people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. It might be a neighbor dog that was previously friendly, or a strange dog that you encounter while out walking. Either way, dog bites and attacks can cause serious injuries, and national headlines reflect horror stories of fatal attacks and dog maulings. What do you do in the event that you are threatened by a dog? Should you stand your ground and fight?
- Homeowners Insurance and Dog Bites in MarylandIn 2014, Maryland lawmakers elected to do away with laws that impose different liability standards on dog owners based on what breed of dog they own.
- All Tort and Personal Injury Law Articles