Do You Know State Laws for Dog Bites?
Dog ownership has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be great news for dogs and owners alike. Dogs help owners handle the stress and isolation of shutdowns. Is there a downside? Potentially because even the friendliest dog can bite. If a dog bites, is the owner liable? That depends on where you live. Below we provide the state laws for dog bite liability for all 50 states. We note which states do not have specific statutes. In those states, owners may still be liable under case law or other statutes.
If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, you should seek medical attention for the dog bite victim immediately. Once you have gotten the injuries tended to, you should seek legal help from a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer who specializes in dog bites. The law firm of Anthem Injury Lawyers has a dedicated team of personal injury lawyers ready to help you with your case. We offer the years of experience you need when faced with fighting for your rights in a dog bite case. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 to make an appointment for a free consultation.
What Are State Laws for Dog Bites?
Dog bite laws vary by state. However, the laws can generally be divided into the following two categories:
- Strict liability
In a one-bite state, the owner’s liability depends on whether the owner knew or should have known that the dog might bite. It is called the one-bite rule because traditionally a dog got one free bite before liability attached.
Under strict liability, the dog does not get one free bite. It holds the owner liable for the bite regardless of what the owner knew or should have known. A majority of the states have strict liability laws for dog bites.
The legal issues involved in a dog bite incident are state and case specific. If you are bitten by a dog, it is important that you work with an experienced dog bite lawyer licensed in your state. If a dog injures you in the Las Vegas area, contact Anthem Injury Lawyers. We are an experienced team of dog bite lawyers licensed in Nevada. Don’t wait – it’s important that you seek experienced legal representation to ensure your rights are protected. If you are severely injured and cannot come to our Las Vegas area office, we can come to you. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 to make an appointment for a free consultation.
In Alabama, a dog owner is liable for damages if their dog bites or injures a person while upon property owned or controlled by the dog owner.
Alaska does not have a dog bite statute.
In Arizona, the owner of a dog which bites a person is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten. This applies when the person is either in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
Arkansas does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In California, the dog owner is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog.
In Colorado, a person who suffers serious bodily injury or death from being bitten by a dog can recover economic damages against the dog owner.
In Connecticut, the dog owner is liable for damages if the dog damages the body or property of any person. There is an exception if the person was either:
- Committing a trespass or other tort
- Teasing, tormenting, or abusing such dog
In Delaware, the owner of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog. Unless the injury, death, or loss was caused to a person who was either:
- Committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner
- Committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against any person
- Teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.
In Florida, the owner of any dog that bites any person is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten. This is regardless of either the:
- Former viciousness of the dog
- Owner’s knowledge of such viciousness
The dog owner is not liable if they post an easily readable “Bad Dog” sign. An exception applies to the bad dog sign if the person bit is under six.
Georgia has a statute that applies to a vicious or dangerous animal. In proving vicious propensity, it is sufficient to show that the animal was:
- Legally required to be at heel or on a leash
- At the time of the occurrence, not at heel or on a leash.
In Hawaii, the animal owner is liable in damages if the animal proximately causes either personal or property damage to any person.
Idaho does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In Illinois, a dog owner is liable for damages if a dog, without provocation:
- Attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself.
In Indiana, a dog owner is liable for damages if a dog, without provocation, bites any person carrying out a duty imposed by law.
In Iowa, a dog owner is liable for damages when the dog attacks or attempts to bite a person. An exception applies when the damaged party is doing an unlawful act, directly contributing to the injury.
Kansas does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In Kentucky, a dog owner is liable for all damages caused by their dog.
In Louisiana, if the victim proves the owner could have prevented the incident, the dog owner is liable for damages.
In Maine, an owner is liable for damages when a dog injures a person. This only applies when the person is not on the owner’s premises at the time of the injury.
In Maryland, evidence that the dog caused the personal injury or death creates a rebuttable presumption that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities.
- Committing a trespass or other tort
- Teasing, tormenting, or abusing such dog
In Michigan, a dog owner is liable for damages if a dog bites a person, without provocation, while the person is either:
- On public property
- Lawfully on private property
In Minnesota, a dog owner is liable for damages if a dog, without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is acting peaceably in any place where the person may lawfully be.
Mississippi does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In Missouri, the owner is strictly liable for damages caused by a dog that bites a person without provocation.
In Montana, the owner is liable for damages if the dog bites a person without provocation.
In Nebraska, the dog owner is liable for any and all damages caused by a dog bite.
In Nevada, the law holds a dog’s owner responsible for the actions of their animals. If a person is attacked or bitten by a dog, the victim has the right to sue the owner for a personal injury. As most dog bites usually occur on the property where a dog lives, these cases will fall under premises liability and a dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance will pay for damages.
In New Hampshire, a dog owner is liable for injuries done by their dog.
In New Jersey, the owner of a dog is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten.
New Mexico does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In New York, the owner of a dangerous dog is strictly liable for medical damages.
In North Carolina, a dog owner is liable if they intentionally, knowingly, and willfully let their dog violate the “running at large” statute at the time of the incident.
North Dakota does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In Ohio, the dog owner is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog. Exceptions apply.
In Oklahoma, the dog owner is liable for damages when the dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person.
In Oregon, the dog owner will be liable for a victim’s bite injuries if they knew (or had reason to know) of the dog’s dangerous propensities.
In Pennsylvania, the dog owner is strictly liable if they had knowledge of the dog’s violent propensities.
In Rhode Island, unless the dog was confined, the dog owner will be held liable for all damages.
In South Carolina, the dog owner is liable for all damages if the victim was on public property or lawfully on private property.
South Dakota does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In Tennessee, the dog owner is liable for damages regardless of prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities.
Texas does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In Utah, a dog owner is liable for an injury caused by the dog.
Vermont does not have a specific dog bite statute.
Virginia does not have a specific dog bite statute.
In Washington, the dog owner is liable for damages.
In West Virginia, the dog owner is liable for damages if they permit their dog to run at large.
In Wisconsin, liability varies based on whether the owner had notice of the dog’s dangerous propensities. Without notice, the dog owner is liable for the full amount of damages caused by the dog. With notice, the dog owner is liable for two times the full amount of damages.
Wyoming does not have a specific dog bite statute.
EXPERIENCED LAS VEGAS PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS
Have you been injured by a dog in the Las Vegas area? You should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Award-winning personal injury law firm Anthem Injury Lawyers is a team of experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyers based in Henderson, Nevada. With over 25 years of experience, Anthem Injury Lawyers specializes in personal injury claims, including dog bites.
Trying to fight against insurance companies yourself is not recommended – get the experts on your side and have us work for you to gain maximum compensation for your dog bite injuries. Our experienced team is ready to help you through the legal process. Contact us today at (702) 857-6000 to make an appointment for a free consultation.