Each state has its own laws which determine who is liable for a dog bite injury. That liability is generally based on who was responsible for supervising the dog and whether or not that individual knew of any propensity the dog may have had to bite or otherwise be aggressive. Although typically the owner of the dog will be held responsible for any resulting dog bite injuries, there may be other situations where liability may point to someone else. Your Joplin personal injury attorney can help you determine who may be responsible
How to determine who can be held liable for a dog bite
As any Joplin Personal Injury attorney will tell you, the facts of each case are always different. So, depending on the particular facts surrounding your dog bite injury, there may be more than one person who can be held liable. The first step, however, is determining the theory of liability that is followed in your state. Some states impose “strict liability,” which means the only proof you need is that the dog cause your injury. If “strict liability” is not followed in your state, then you may need to establish that the dog’s owner knew the dog already had vicious propensities.
Liability for injuries from a stray dog
It may not be very common, but being bitten by a stray dog in neighborhood can happen. So, who is responsible in that situation? Unfortunately, if you are bitten by a stray dog, you will likely not have a legal claim. Municipalities are not responsible for stray dogs, generally speaking, unless the dog was being kept at a local pound and escaped. But, you must be able to establish negligence on the part of the city, for not properly detaining the dog.
Dog bite injuries suffered while on the job
If you are required to enter the house or property of a third party in order to perform work, such as household repairs, for example, it is possible to be bitten by the property owner’s dog. Because you are asked into the house to perform the work, the person who owns the property has a legal duty to take reasonable efforts to protect you from injury. That means, if the property owner has a dog, he is responsible for keeping it away from you, or at least warning you of its presence.
It may also be possible to file a claim for workers’ compensation with your employer, if the injury occurred during the course of your work duties. You may also be able to bring the workers’ compensation claim, in addition to bringing a legal claim against the person responsible for the dog.
Dog bite injuries caused by a police dog
Depending on the circumstances, you may have a claim against the police department. Police are not allowed to use unreasonable force in making an arrest; that would include improper use of a police dog. If the use of a K-9 was unreasonable under the circumstances, then the police may be required to compensate you. On the other hand, if the police were negligent in allowing a K-9 to injure an innocent bystander, for instance, the police will likely be liable for your injuries.
The Dog Owner may not always be responsible
Typically, when a dog bites someone, the dog’s owner is responsible for compensating the victim for their injuries. Each state has its own laws regarding dog bite liability, some of which impose strict liability for such injuries. However, there are some defenses that dog owner’s will assert in order to avoid liability. So, when is a dog owner not responsible for a dog bite? Following are some common examples.
Common defenses raised in dog bite cases
Although not all of these defenses are recognized in all states, it helps to be familiar with some common defenses in case you are faced with them during litigation of a dog bite case. Dog owners may be able to avoid liability if the victim provoked the dog, knowingly took the risk of being injured by the dog, or the victim was trespassing. It is also important to understand that not all of these defenses apply in situations where the victim is a young child. For example, most courts hold that, depending on the age, a child is unable to appreciate the risks of being injured by a dog.
The dog bite rules in Arkansas and Missouri
In Arkansas, unlike most states, there is no specific law pertaining to liability for dog bites. However, Arkansas has common law liability that can be enforced. If an individual in Arkansas is injured by a dog attack, he or she can recover money damages from the owner if negligence is proven.
In Missouri, there is a dog bite statute, passed in 2009, which imposes strict liability on dog owners for dog bites, regardless of whether the dog bit anyone in the past. Missouri law also allows dog bite victims to recover in cases of negligence and negligence per se.
If you have questions regarding dog bite injuries, or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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