Bitten by a dog? Know your rights under the law
Being bitten by a dog is a harrowing experience. More than the emotional trauma incurred by the victim, s/he may also be subject to treatments and medical fees that may put a strain on his/her time and finances. If you have been bitten by a dog, it is good to know that there are laws in our country that defend us against dog bite damages. Here’s what you need to know about dog bite statutes.
One Bite Rule
This rule, which was adapted from England’s common-law centuries ago, implies that a dog is allowed “one free bite” before the owner becomes liable for any legal action. The logic behind the ruling was because pet dogs are tamed, owners don’t have an idea about their dog’s propensity to do harm. However, in the U.S., states that implement one-bite rule don’t necessarily allow all dogs to have their first bite free of any legal charges. For instance, breeds that are known to be inherently dangerous are exempted from the one-bite rule.
States where a one bite rule is applied include Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.
Strict Liability Rule
Most states in the U.S. are implementing strict liability ruling for dog bite cases. In a strict liability rule, the dog owner is responsible for the damages incurred by a victim, given that the victim is legally allowed to be in the premises (not a trespasser), and that s/he did not in any way provoked the dog. But according to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the most important, yet the trickiest, part in proving liability is determining if the party involved is the legal owner or keeper of the dog. When ownership is established, the plaintiff may then proceed with proving that the owner’s negligence caused him damages.