What strict liability in dog bite law REALLY means is that:
In other states and countries, attack victims must prove the dog was a known danger.
In other words, your dog has to have bitten someone once already in the past, before there is evidence the dog is a danger. Then and only then is the owner strictly liable.
Only then will liability attach under negligence law. But even in those states, owners cannot escape being sued 100% of the time for intentional acts.
So first, people need to know that animal attacks are not always the fault of the owner. Because of this, people need to recognize when defenses do and when they don't.
The bottom line is that you are almost always responsible for the acts of your pets. Dog owners, in particular, should be aware if their dog bites a person, they can face civil suits. The news media often run stories about bite victims. These stories relate to injuries suffered, the impounding of the dog, and the consequences the owner faces.
Dog owners facing possible civil suits should consider consulting an experienced dog bite lawyer. The attorney that specializes in dog bite injuries can specify the applicable law and how this could affect them.
The responsibility for the dog’s actions is not always to the dog owner. This remains true even after the dog bites a person. For example, there are some instances when the dog bite occurs with justifiable cause. But as discussed, every state has their specific dog bite laws.
Exceptions to Dog Bite Strict Liability:
The dog owner can take action to protect themselves and their dog from legal actions. So this requires being vigilant in preventing the dog from biting any person. While in some instances it remains avoidable, some precautions exist for the dog owner to take. These stay especially true if the dog may bite.
Using a muzzle in some instances can be intelligent. But many more methods exist to avoid suits.
Methods to Help Avoid Dog Bite Lawsuits:
You heard, right. Dog owners do not want to be in a situation where their pet has unjustifiably bitten another person, who meant no harm. Due to negligent dog owners, in the past and present, the responsible dog owner will need to prove their dog had a legitimate cause to bite.
So this is where being proactive is the best form of defense. So post signs, lock the gate, or put the dog out of range when they feel threatened. Also, this can potentially help protect the owner and the dog from a future possible civil lawsuit and dog impounding.
These were some of the exceptions and defenses to dog bite strict liability. To learn more, reach out to Michael Ehline at Ehline Law Firm (213) 596-9642.
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