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Dog Bite Laws by State

Dog bites and dog bite injuries are a serious and substantial problem in the United States.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), millions of people suffer serious dog attacks every year in our country. More than half of all dog bite victims are children who are significantly more vulnerable to severe wounds caused by a dog.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people with dog bite injuries suffered in wild animal or domestic animal attacks and other types of professional negligence.

Our law firm has organized the following information on dog bite statutes around nation.

A dog owner may have liability for a dog bite or multiple dog bites under their state dog bite laws. An injured person may be able to sue under the dog bite statute for the dog owner’s negligence and the resulting physical injury and other damage

Whether or not they will be successful in court will depend upon the actions of the dog owner, circumstances of the dog bite, history of the bad dog or dangerous dog, the dog owner liability law (i.e. one bite rule, strict liability dog bite statute, free bite rule, etc.), and other factors.

Read the following sections and contact us if you or the injured person has any questions about a possible dog bite case.

Injuries from Dog Bites and Attacks

As prosaic as dog and other animal attacks in the United States are, both on private property and public grounds, the toll can be tremendous. While the pet may pop up and strike instantly, that act can have consequences that last a lifetime.

How do they generally happen? Typically, dogs attack when they are provoked or when someone new comes onto their premises.

If you do the latter, make sure the owner knew about your trip or will know about when you are on the property of the owner so they can restrain the animal. The owner’s property will be safer then.

Dog bite and attacks produce significant injuries. They can endanger your vision, hearing, and even life. Such injury may include scarring, loss of eye, organ damage, and death.

As long as such person was on a public place or lawfully on the owner’s property (i.e. they got permission to be on the property of the owner), then they could try and sue for civil liability for the incident that occurred on the owner’s property or with the owner’s animal.

If they are successful in their case, then they could obtain financial compensation for their economic damages (i.e. medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic damages (i.e. pain, suffering, disfigurement, etc.). The size and scope of each victim’s compensation will vary depending upon their events and harms.

A personal injury lawyer from our team of personal injury attorneys can give you legal advice about the dog owner, dog bites, strict liability, and dog owner liability.

It is imperative that you learn about strict liability laws and how they cover dog bites, the leash law, when you can impose strict liability for dog bites especially if the property owner knew about the dog’s dangerous propensities.

The owner’s knowledge could make them liable under the one bite rule, strict liability dog bite statutes, or other laws.

Dog Bite Laws in the United States

Many states employ one or more of the above liability laws for animal attacks including those with dogs (i.e. strict liability, one bite rule, etc.).

Here are what some of the most common schemes for these cases and their disputes and legal proceedings:

  • Strict Liability for Dog Attacks: Owners are liable for every attack or bite every time no matter how it happened.
  • One Bite Rule: Owners are liable after the first bite or attack.
  • Negligence: Owners are liable if their actions regarding the bite or attack were unreasonable for the circumstances.
  • Mixed: States may use one or more of the above legal structures.

If you have questions about which laws would apply in your states, talk to our legal team today. We can help analyze which statutes are relevant and what financial compensation you could be entitled to.

State Laws for Dog Bites/Attacks

All states punish destructive animal conduct in some way and at some point. However, there is a range of culpability in the different states at which point owners of violent dogs will be held liable by law enforcement as you can see:

State Rule Law
Alabama Strict Liability Alabama Code 3-6-1
Alaska NA NA
Arizona Strict Liability Arizona Statute Section 11
Arkansas Negligence N/A
California Strict Liability California Code Section 3342
Colorado Hybrid Colorado Statute 13
Connecticut Strict Liability Connecticut Statute 22
Delaware Strict Liability Delaware Code Section 1711
District of Columbia Hybrid D.C. Code Section 8
Florida Strict Liability Florida Statute 767
Georgia Negligence Georgia Code Section 51
Hawaii Negligence Hawaii Statute 663
Idaho One-Bite Rule NA
Illinois Strict Liability ILCS 510
Indiana Strict Liability Indiana Code 15-20-1-3
Iowa Strict Liability Iowa Code 351
Kansas Negligence NA
Kentucky Strict Liability Kentucky Statute 258
Louisiana Strict Liability Louisiana Article 2321
Maine Strict Liability Maine Statute 3961
Maryland Hybrid Maryland Code 3-1901
Massachusetts Strict Liability Massachusetts Law 155
Michigan Strict Liability Michigan Law Section 287
Minnesota Hybrid Minnesota Statute 347
Mississippi One-Bite Rule NA
Missouri Hybrid Missouri Statute 273
Montana Hybrid Montana Code 27-1-715
Nebraska Strict Liability Nebraska Statute 54-601
Nevada Negligence NA
New Hampshire Strict Liability New Hampshire Statute 446:19
New Jersey Strict Liability New Jersey Statute 4:10-16
New Mexico Negligence NA
New York Strict Liability New York Law Ag. & Markets Law 123
North Carolina Hybrid North Carolina Statute 67
North Dakota Negligence NA
Ohio Strict Liability Ohio Code 955.28
Oklahoma Strict Liability Oklahoma Statute 4-42.1
Oregon Negligence NA
Pennsylvania Hybrid Pennsylvania Statute 502 A
Rhode Island Hybrid Rhode Island Laws 4-13-16
South Carolina Strict Liability South Carolina Code 47-3-110
South Dakota Negligence NA
Tennessee Strict Liability Tennessee Code 44-8-413
Texas Negligence NA
Utah Strict Liability Utah Code 18-1-1
Vermont Negligence NA
Virginia One-Bite Rule NA
Washington Strict Liability Washington Code 16-08-040
West Virginia Hybrid West Virginia Code 19-20-13
Wisconsin Hybrid Wisconsin Statute 174.02
Wyoming Negligence NA

Want to know when you can impose liability and make sure a dog owner’s liability is upheld for the harm caused by their domestic animals? Or when an owner’s negligence regarding their dangerous animal (like dangerous dogs) can make them held liable under common law?

Then, contact us to set up an attorney client relationship. We can review if the dog owner (or person who owned such property where the accident occurred) can be held strictly liable (or if strict liability applies at all) or if the crime suspect can be held liable at all by law enforcement (even assuming the one free bite rule)/

Do not sent any sensitive or confidential information for this lawyer referral service and paid attorney advertising.

Can You Sue a Dog Owner or Dog Owners after an Attack?

Most states allow you to sue dog owners (or owners of any animal for that matter) that attack and injure you causing tangible damage.

This is true no matter what dog bite statute scheme they use (i.e. strict liability, one bite rule, mixed, etc.) The key is to know when they allow you to sue the dog owner and when they can be held liable.

To understand this in more detail, review your state’s dog bite statute with a lawyer. See if the dog bite statute follows a one bite rule, strict liability dog bite responsibility, or anything else.

The actual law itself will give you the elements you need to prove and a lawyer can help you make your case.

If a dog owned by someone else attacked you or someone else, then we can help the injured person prove owner (or third parties) like the dog’s owner knew his or her dog was dangerous on the private property, public place or lawfully designated area.

Alternatively, we can also demonstrate how such owner should be held to the statutory strict liability threshold for the dog attack and held strictly liable under the strict liability statute.

Can You Sue a Dog Owner or Dog Owners after an Attack?

Most states allow you to sue dog owners (or owners of any animal for that matter) that attack and injure you causing tangible damage.

This is true no matter what dog bite statute scheme they use (i.e. strict liability, one bite rule, mixed, etc.) The key is to know when they allow you to sue the dog owner and when they can be held liable.

To understand this in more detail, review your state’s dog bite statute with a lawyer. See if the dog bite statute follows a one bite rule, strict liability dog bite responsibility, or anything else. The actual law itself will give you the elements you need to prove and a lawyer can help you make your case.

If a dog owned by someone else attacked you or someone else, then we can help the injured person prove owner (or third parties) like the dog’s owner knew his or her dog was dangerous on the private property, public place or lawfully designated area.

Alternatively, we can also demonstrate how such owner should be held to the statutory strict liability threshold for the dog attack and held strictly liable under the strict liability statute.

Dog Bite and Attack Cases

$250,000 Verdict against Dog Owner.

Here, the injured person was a doctor in her early thirties.  She was bitten and attacked by a dog she was petting in her office.  The woman sustained injuries across her face including nose and lips. from the dangerous dog

Prior to the incident, the dog’s owner did not tell her about the dog’s dangerous propensities and past history of attacks on private property (his or her premises) of the owner of the dog.

The woman incurred over $10,000 in medical care bills and $5,000 in lost wages.  The two sides settled the claim for $250,000.

The defendant actually initially claimed that the strict liability law and dog bite rule (from the dog bite statutes) did not apply because of the bitten person’s negligence contributed to the event.

The judge ruled that since the owner of the dog knew the domestic animal had caused serious bodily injury (and the dog’s dangerous propensities before with reasonable control, the person bitten could use strict liability and the dog bite rule under the dog bite statute for the dog owner.

$300,000 Settlement with Dog Owner.

In this animal attack incident, a dog jumped up and bit a woman in her thigh as she stood in her driveway.  The injured person was rushed to the emergency department.  The dog was owned by the woman’s neighbor.

The injury necessitated stitches and other medical care services totaling almost $250,000.

The woman brought a claim against the neighbor for damages from the dog bite and attack.  The parties agreed to settle for a reported $300,000.

$160,000 Dog Owner Settlement.

In this dog bite would case, a child was bitten and attacked as it played in a neighbor’s yard.  The kid was just seven and had permission to play there.

The attack left the injured victim with various injuries across his face and head that required over $10,000 in medical care bills for care, stitches, and an overnight stay.  The dog has a prior history of attacks.  The neighbor gave the child’s family $160,000 to settle.

Lawyers that Will Stand Up for You and Your Family after a Dog Bite or Animal Attack

The dog bite attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have many years of experience in managing animal attack cases including those involving dogs and children. We will provide you with a no-obligation, initial consultation that is completely free.

In that consultation, we can talk about the merits of your case and provide legal options on how to go forward most effectively. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your appointment.

Our attorneys accept all wrongful death cases, personal injury lawsuits, and dog bite claims through contingency fee agreements.

This arrangement postpones the payment of your legal fees until after we have successfully resolved your case through a negotiated settlement or a jury trial award. All information you share with our law offices remains confidential.