Dog Bite Lawsuit

When individuals are victims in a dog attack, they may be able to recover financial compensation through a dog bite lawsuit. Dog bite laws vary from state to state. For this reason, dog bite victims are encouraged to seek the aid of a dog bite attorney. A dog bite attorney can help navigate each state’s dog bite laws and determine the best way to file a dog bite lawsuit. In most states, victims can file a dog bite lawsuit regardless of whether or not the dog’s owner was at fault. However, some states require that a dog bite lawsuit provides proof that the owner acted illegally or negligently, and these actions led to the victim’s dog bite injury.

Dog Bite Lawsuit Evidence

The plaintiff, or the injured dog bite victim, holds the burden of proof in a dog bite lawsuit. This means that the plaintiff must provide sufficient evidence to the court in order to win a dog bite lawsuit. In some states, the plaintiff may need to prove that the negligent actions of the defendant, or the dog’s owner, caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries. However, this is not necessary in most states that impose strict liability dog bite laws.

Strict Liability Burden of Proof

In strict liability states such as Florida, the plaintiff must prove the following in order to win a dog bite lawsuit:

  • The plaintiff was injured as a result of being attacked or bitten by a dog
  • The defendant holds ownership or legal responsibility for the dog
  • The plaintiff did not provoke the dog to attack or bite
  • The plaintiff was acting peaceably in a place where he or she was legally permitted to be

One-Bite Rule Burden of Proof

States with a one-bite rule hold that a dog’s owner is not liable for dog bite injuries unless he or she had reason to believe that the dog may be dangerous. The name “one-bite rule” can be misleading, as a bite is not the only legally-standing indication that a dog may be a risk to others. Less severe dog behavior may also be taken into account when determining if the one-bite rule applies.

The following dog behaviors may be taken into account when determining the one-bite rule:

  • Previous bites
  • Threatening others with barking or growling
  • Jumping on others, even if the behavior is friendly and playful, as this can knock down an individual and cause injury
  • Frightening others with excessive barking or chasing
  • Fighting with other dogs, in certain cases
  • A history of training for dog fighting
  • Previous complains about the dog from neighbors, visitors, or pedestrians
  • The dog’s breed, depending on the state’s breed laws

 

 

Sources:

Barlow, Christine G. “Dog bite claims: should certain breeds be excluded?” Claims May 2011: 16+. Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.

Bonanno, Steven R., Adam P. Karp, and Yvonne C. Ocrant. “Recent developments in animal tort and insurance law.” Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal Winter 2011: 163+. Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.

Carrns, Ann. “From dogs, a liability bite.” New York Times 26 May 2012: B4(L). Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.
“Prepare for dog bite cases.” Trial Mar. 2013: 56. Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.

Urbina, Ian. “States Try to Weigh Safety With Dog Owners’ Rights.” New York Times 23 July 2007: A12(L). Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Jan. 2014.