Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld

November 22, 2021

Over $400 Million worth of case results

Awarded The Best Lawyer in 2024 by U.S. News

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Dog Bite LawsEven though recent dog bite laws have been enacted and updated, animal attacks are still a severe and substantial problem in the United States.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), millions of people in our country suffer severe dog attacks every year.

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 nationwide.

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 have 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 provoked, or someone new comes onto their premises. The dog’s owner must take measures that prevent attacks to ensure everyone’s safety.

If you do the latter, make sure the owner knows about your trip or will know about when you are on the owner’s property 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 a person was in 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 succeed in their case, 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.

You must learn about strict liability laws and how they cover dog bites, the leash law, and when you can impose strict liability, 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 laws, and statutes.

Dog Bite Laws in the United States

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

Here are 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.
  • Mixed: States may use one or more of the above legal structures.

If you have questions about which dog bite laws would apply in your states, talk to our legal team today. We can help analyze the relevant statutes and financial compensation available.

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

Do you want to know when you can impose liability and ensure 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 the 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 send 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) that attack and injure you, causing tangible damage.

This is true no matter their dog bite statute scheme (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.

Review your state’s dog bite laws with a lawyer to understand this in greater detail. See if the dog bite statute follows a one-bite rule, strict liability dog bite responsibility, or anything else.

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

Did a dog owned by someone else attack you or someone else? We can help the injured person prove the owner (or third parties), like the dog’s owner, knew their dog was dangerous on private property, public places, or lawfully designated areas.

Alternatively, we can also demonstrate how such an 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) that attack and injure you, causing tangible damage.

This is true no matter their dog bite statute scheme (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.

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

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

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 her nose and lips, from the dangerous dog.

Before 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 dog’s owner.

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

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

The judge ruled that since the dog owner knew the domestic animal had caused severe 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 dog bite laws for the dog owner.

$300,000 Settlement with the Dog Owner

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

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 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 discuss your case’s merits and provide legal options for going forward most effectively. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your appointment.

Our attorneys accept all wrongful death cases, personal injury claims, and dog bite lawsuits payable through the dog owner’s homeowner’s policy through contingency fee agreements.

This arrangement postpones the payment of your legal fees until 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.


Dog Bite Claims Eat Up Significant Percentage of Homeowner Insurance Claims

Free Consultation (888) 424-5757
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