Dog Owner Liability
Dog Owner Liability in The United States
There are approximately 78 million dogs owned in the United States. Dogs are often called “man’s best friend” but when a dog becomes aggressive, it can be your worst nightmare. Every 40 seconds someone in the United States seeks medical attention for a dog bite. Most dog bite victims are children and most of those bites are on the face. If you or someone you love was injured by a dog, it is important to understand all of your rights and options.
Every state in the United States has laws that deal with dog bites. Dog owners have a responsibility to follow these laws to ensure the safety of all those in their community. If a dog owner fails to follow the laws in his state and his community, he may be held liable for any injuries or damages that have occurred as a result of his negligence. In general, there are three ways a dog owner can be held liable for his dog's actions.
Strict Liability Laws: Some states have strict liability laws which means that dog owners are responsible for their dog's actions and for any injuries or damages. Even if the dog was restrained at the time or has never bitten anyone before, the dog owner is still liable. Unless the victim did something to provoke the attack or was trespassing at the time of the attack, a dog owner is responsible for everything. Other states have strict liability but only for medical expenses.
One Bite Laws: Some states have one bite law. Victims can only sue for compensation if the dog has already bitten someone else. In essence, dogs get one “free bite” before their owners are liable for injuries or damages. This “free bite” puts the owner on notice that his dog is dangerous. So long as the owner wasn't in direct violation of a local leash law, or negligent in some way, he cannot be held liable unless he was aware of his dog's dangerous propensities.
Negligence: Dog owners may be responsible for injuries that occurred because of the owner’s negligence. While there are many factors and exceptions, dog owners who act negligently are responsible for their dog's actions and victims can file a lawsuit to seek financial compensation.
It Is Important to Know the Laws of Your State Following a Dog Bite or Animal Attack
If you or someone you love has been bitten, it is important to speak with an attorney immediately. Dog bite injuries can be severe and can lead to a lifetime of pain, scarring, and disabilities.
Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney
For a free consultation about your rights in the aftermath of a severe dog bite incident, call 303-400-8100 to contact our experienced animal attack and dog bite personal injury attorneys at Norton, Bowers & Hofstra, P.C. Located in Aurora, Colorado, our Aurora dog bite attorneys handle cases throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. You can receive a free consultation and case evaluation. There are no attorney’s fees until we recover for you. Home, evening, and weekend visits are available.