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
- What Is Strict Liability in Animal Attack Cases?Some states hold an animal owner strictly liable when his or her animal attacks another person. This legal theory is used most often in cases involving dog bites.
- Georgia Personal Injury Laws - What You Should KnowIf you are injured in the State of Georgia, there is a statute of limitations requirement you need to know about. From the date of your injury, you have up to two years from that date to file a personal injury lawsuit. This “statute of limitations” applies to all personal injury-related cases. After the two-year window expires, you may lose your right to file a claim or receive monetary compensation.
- What You Should Know About Dog Bites and When You Can Request CompensationCompensation payments owed for dog bite claims through an insurance company may be complicated and lead to severe aggravation. It is possible a personal injury lawyer is needed to ensure a settlement is reached and allocated to the victim of these attacks.
- Types of Injuries, Treatment and Damages in Dog Bite Attack CasesDog bite issues are an uncommon occurrence, but they are still governed by personal injury cases each year when they do arise. Because it is important to know who is responsible for damages during these incidents, contacting a lawyer may be beneficial in understanding how to proceed.
- Defenses in a Dog Bite LawsuitEach state has different regulations that govern dog bite laws. Because of this, it is easier in certain areas of the country for someone that has been attacked by animals to succeed in a litigation case than where the laws are stricter and more in favor of the dog owners.
- Mistakes Not to Make if You Have Been Bitten by a DogEvery year, approximately 800,000 people are bit by dogs to such a degree that they require medical attention. Children and postal workers are the most susceptible to such bites. Due to the prevalence of such attacks, there are many personal injury cases that are based on dog bites. This also means that there is more opportunity for victims of dog bites to make a mistake that adversely affects their legal rights.
- Five Questions to Ask BEFORE Choosing a Personal Injury LawyerChoosing a personal injury lawyer can be a hard decision at a difficult time. These 5 questions make it easier to choose the right personal injury lawyer.
- Liability for Dog Bites and AttacksWhile many dogs are friendly and loyal companions, some dogs act ferociously and cause injury or even death. When a dog attacks a person, a careful assessment of the situation can help determine whether liability lies in another person or entity.
- 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.
- All Tort and Personal Injury Law Articles