Must Know Facts About Dog-bite Laws in the US

A personal injury case can be filed if you suffer physical injury due to a dog bite. The case is filed against the dog owner who is liable to compensate the victim.

The compensation can be claimed for the medical expenses, mental trauma, loss of pay due to inability to work, cost of plastic surgery, etc., required. Besides these, there are several other reasons for which compensation can be claimed. A personal injury lawyer will be able to assess the extent of damage and calculate fair compensation for the victim.

The US has specific dog bite laws that make the dog owner liable for losses incurred by the victim due to a dog bite. 

Dog bite laws in the US are an interplay of:

  • City ordinances 
  • State statutory laws
  • State case laws
  • Common law

Hence, the dog bite laws vary according to the jurisdiction. Dog bite cases may be civil, administrative, or criminal offenses depending on the laws of the jurisdiction and the nature of the case. In case the dog bite case is civil, the dog owner will need to compensate the victim. If criminal charges are pressed against the dog owner, he may have to suffer severe punishment. As per the administrative laws, remedial action is advised for the dog.

If a dog owner is unaware that his dog is dangerous or vicious, he may not be held liable under the one-bite rule. However, in case the owner knows that his dog can be potentially dangerous, criminal charges can be pressed against him. The dog owner can face a jail sentence in such cases and the dog may be imposed euthanasia or other conditions for retaining the dog. Civil laws make the dog owner liable for all the losses faced by the victim.

However, several states in the US may modify the one bite rule depending on the nature of the case. The dog owner may be held liable in case the dog bites the victim without any provocation or trespassing by the victim. Besides criminal laws and animal control laws may impose punitive action against the dog and its owner even if the dog has not displayed dangerous behavior previously.

A dog owner may be liable for the injury caused if it occurred due to negligent handling of the dog or violation of animal control laws such as the leash law. Negligence by the dog owner makes him liable if there is an injury to the victim. The US has strict animal control laws to protect against bodily injuries to people. Failure to adhere to these laws can make the dog owner liable.

Some of the common strategies used for defending the dog owner are that the victim provoked the dog, the victim was attacked when he was trespassing, the victim was negligent, etc.

An efficient personal injury lawyer can navigate through these defense strategies and ensure that the victim gets a fair judgment and gets adequate compensation for the injury suffered.

Autrey Law Firm has experienced personal injury lawyers who are knowledgeable about dog bite laws. We have represented several clients in different types of personal injury cases successfully.

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