Every state establishes laws that govern liability for dog bite injuries. In most cases, liability is based on who was responsible for supervising the dog and whether or not that person knew the dog had any sort of propensity for biting or being aggressive. However, depending on the situation, it may not be the dog owner who should be held responsible for dog bite injuries. Your Rogers personal injury attorney can help you determine who may be responsible if you or a loved one is injured in a dog attack.
Who is Responsible for a Stray Dog?
It may not be very common but being bitten by a stray dog in your 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. Generally speaking, municipalities are not responsible for stray dogs, 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 on the Job
In some situations, where individuals are required to enter the house or property of a third party in order to perform work, such as household repairs, they could be bitten by the property owner’s dog. Under those circumstances, since you are asked into the house to perform the work, the person who owns the property has a legal duty 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. Depending on the laws in your state, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer, if the injury occurred during the course of your work duties.
What if I am Bitten by a Police Dog?
If you are bitten by a K-9 or police dog, liability for that injury will depend on the situation. If you are a suspect, police officers are not allowed to use unreasonable force in making an arrest. This would include improper use of a police dog. On the other hand, if you were resisting arrest or if the K-9 was used in the manner intended to apprehend you, then the police department may not be responsible. Issues of governmental immunity may also be applicable. However, if the police were negligent in allowing a K-9 to injure an innocent bystander, for example, the police will likely be liable for your injuries.
Let our Rogers Personal Injury Attorney Help You determine Who is Liable
As any Rogers 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.
What Do Arkansas Laws Say About Dog Bite Liability?
Some states impose “strict liability,” which means the only proof you need is that the dog caused 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.
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.
When is the Dog Owner Not Responsible?
It is generally expected that when a dog bites someone the dog’s owner is responsible for compensating the victim for their injuries. However, there are some defenses that dog owners can argue in order to avoid liability. 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.
If you have questions regarding dog bite injuries or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 616-6356.
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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