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“One-Bite” vs. Strict Liability Rules for Dog Bite Injury Cases

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Whether you like to admire dogs up close or prefer to keep your distance, a bite can be a devastating event for the victim, the defendant and his/her furry companion. Not only can dog bites incite fear and cause pain in the injured party, but also owners may also face steep penalties including losing their beloved pet. Legal penalties for pet owners whose dog bites another person vary depending on the state in which the bite takes place. Most jurisdictions either apply the “One Bite” rule or strict liability when adjudicating dog bite cases. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorney is available to defend your rights if you or your loved one were mauled and severely bitten.

Legal Penalties for Dog Owners in Dog Bite Cases

An owner may be required to compensate the victim if his or her dog bites another person. Injuries may range from very minor to more severe. A wound may require a few stitches in some cases and reconstructive surgery along with years of counseling in others, depending on the degree of the attack. Legal counsel can help victims determine the extent of the damages they may have incurred.

Strict Liability Rules for Dog Bite Injuries

States that have strict liability dog bite laws apply very specific rules toward cases presented in court. These statutes usually hold the owner strictly liable for their pet’s biting behavior. The strict liability theory holds that even if the plaintiff could have done something to prevent the injury altogether or minimize the severity of the resulting injury, the court will still hold the defendant liable. The two most common elements in strict liability rules for dog bite injuries are: 1) The plaintiff was legally permitted to be present where the dog bite took place and 2) The plaintiff did not provoke the dog.

There is significant variation among states that have a strict liability dog bite statute. For example, some laws provide a defense for owners in cases in which the pet bites a plaintiff who received a warning prior to the bite. Other strict liability laws only apply to incidents that occur on public property, or specifically to dogs and all domestic animals. The best way to determine exactly which laws are applicable in California, consult with legal representation from a reputable law firm.

“One-Bite” Laws in Dog Bite Cases

Across the U.S., states began adopting strict liability dog bite laws in the 20th century. In years prior, most states applied “one-bite” laws. Dog owners were only held liable if they had reason to know the dog might bite someone. Therefore, the name of the rule comes from the premise that canines were allowed one “free” bite before their owners would be held liable according to state law. However, even the “one bite” rule evolved over time. Today, in jurisdictions that still apply the “one bite” rule, state laws no longer allow dogs one free bite before the owner may encounter legal trouble as a result. Owners may be liable after the first instance of biting if they are aware that their dog’s breed may be more likely to bite or if the behavioral characteristics have in the past suggested it is likely to bite someone in the future.

Prior Knowledge Under Strict Liability vs. “One-Bite” Rules

Perhaps the most key difference between cases in which strict liability dog bite laws apply and those in which courts decide the outcome by applying the “one-bite” rule is the owner’s prior knowledge. Strict liability cases generally do not take into consideration whether the owner had reason to believe the dog might be more or less likely to bite. In contrast, courts that apply the “one-bite” rule consider the owner’s knowledge prior to the bite. Specifically, the court evaluates whether the owner knew or had reason to know the dog might bite and whether the owner took the necessary precautions, based on that knowledge, to prevent unwarranted attacks. It is necessary for victims to contact a lawyer because establishing the owners prior knowledge can very quickly become complicated. A lawyer can examine the facts of the case and conduct the necessary interviews to help the plaintiff present the most compelling evidence to establish his or her case.

Dog Bite Lawyer Los Angeles Victims Can Trust

If you are looking for a canine bite lawyer in Los Angeles offers a multitude of options. Our compassionate attorney will thoroughly examine your case and help you understand your legal options. We will help you make informed decisions when it comes to determining the next steps in your case. Our lawyer will fight for your rights and work to obtain the compensation you need for your medical expenses, time away from work, and other applicable damages. In addition to relying on our legal expertise in settlement negotiations and, if necessary, in the courtroom, you can also count on us to provide competent legal counsel with the utmost professionalism, courtesy, and discretion.

Your search for a lawyer for dog bite attacks ends with us. Contact us today, and receive a free, confidential case evaluation. We understand that experiencing an attack is painful and traumatic enough. Call our dedicated team, and let us do the legal legwork while you focus on healing.

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