Dog Bite Cases: Understanding How Strict Liability Law Differs from One Bite Law

Dog about to bite the man's finger

The laws used to establish liability for dog bites differ from one state to another. However, there are basically two types of dog bite laws: liability regardless of whether the dog’s owner should have known or knew that his dog might bite another person and liability if the owner of the dog should have known or knew about the possibility of his dog biting someone. But how exactly do these two dog bite laws differ from one another?

Dog Bite Law: Strict Liability

Most states, such as Utah, follow the strict liability law that provides particular guidelines for dog bite lawsuits. According to a lawyer in Utah that specializes in various personal injury laws, including dog bite cases, strict liability holds a dog owner responsible for the dog bite incident regardless of whether he could have prevented the dog from biting someone in the first place. This statute further states that the owner will be held liable in the event that his dog bit another individual, that individual didn’t provoke the dog, and that individual was legally permitted to be in the specific place where the dog bite incident took place. Essentially, whatever information the owner was aware of and wasn’t aware of regarding his dog before the bite incident is immaterial.

Strict Liability Statutes Will Still Differ from State to State

Angry dog with excessive salivaHowever, take note that strict liability rules also vary in states that enact them. For instance, some apply only to dogs, while others can apply to general domesticated animal attacks. Some accept the common defense that the owner warned the plaintiff, and some rules only cover dog bites that took place on public property. The most crucial element of strict liability statutes, however, is that it’s easier to predict whether or not a case has strong merit. It’s easier for plaintiffs to prove liability, and defendants are, therefore, more likely to start settlement negotiations early on in the event that the statute obviously applies to the dog bite case.

Dog Bite Law: One Bite

In years past, the one-bite rule generally meant that all gods were allowed one bite prior to its owner getting into legal trouble. These days, however, if a dog owner is aware that there’s a chance his dog will bite another individual due to recent events, its general character, or the specific breed of his dog, he can be held responsible even for his dog’s very first bite. Basically, the focus of the case would be whether the owner of the dog should have known or knew that his dog would bite someone and whether the owner did whatever was necessary to prevent the incident from occurring based on what he knew.

Liability statutes for injuries that resulted from a dog bite differ from one state to another because some states follow the strict liability law, while others follow one bite law. Additionally, the results of a dog bite case would depend on how these laws apply to specific circumstances. If a dog has bitten you or if your dog has bitten someone, discuss your case with a local personal injury attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

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