There is an old adage that Courts allow a dog to get ‘a free bite’ as far as negligence is concerned. In sum and substance, this means that a Plaintiff in a ‘free bite state’ must prove that the owner knew about a previous bite or the dog’s propensity for violence and aggression in order to collect damages as a result of a dog attack.On the other end of the spectrum, other states have a strict liability statutory schemes or quasi strict liability for dog caused injuries. Strict liability means that negligence or fault need not be established in order to hold the dog owner liable for damages.
if you were injured by a dog, pit bulll or domestic animal you should contact a personal injury lawyer or a dog bite / dog attack attorney.
Homeowner’s Insurance typically covers homeowner’s from a dog owned by the property owner who attacks a third party. American insurance states: “Homeowners and Renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite claims under the Personal Liability section of the policy, which can range from a coverage limit of $100,000 to $500,000. However, if the claim exceeds the policy limit, the dog owner is personally responsible for all damages above that amount, including legal expenses.”
Cornell University Law School succinctly explains the common law of animal attack law in the United States: “A rule that says that the owner of a domesticated animal (e.g., a dog) will be held strictly liable for injuries caused by the animal only if the owner knew or should have known about the animal’s dangerous or vicious propensities, which have been manifested in the past. The burden of proof is on the injured party to show that the animal owner possessed this knowledge. The “one-bite” rule originated in common law and has been rejected or modified by most states, either by statute or by case law, with regard to dogs.” https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/one-bite_rule
Does every dog get one free bite in Rhode Island? (Answer by RI dog attack Attorney David Slepkow)
Rhode Island has a strict Liability statute for dog bite injuries and other dog related injury in certain circumstances. Rhode Island General Law, § 4-13-16 , imposes strict liability on the owner of a canine for a dog who injures a third party outside of the dogs enclosure.
It is not necessary that the dog actually bites or attacks a victim outside of its enclosure, an injury caused by a dog is enough
“Therefore, the dog-bite statute imposes strict liability in any circumstance wherein the dog is outside of its owner’s enclosure. The plaintiff asks us to interpret the statute at issue to obtain the same result as the dog-bite statute, even though the language does not provide support for this interpretation. The strict liability of the dog-bite statute is predicated on the location of the dog at the time of injury. ” Phillip JOHNSTON v. John POULIN et al. 844 A.2d 707 (2004) The RI Supreme Court “has interpreted the term “enclosure” to mean “a fence, physical obstruction or any other condition that gives reasonable notice to third parties that the area is private.” Montiero, 813 A.2d at 981; see also Butti v. Rossi,617 A.2d 881, 882 (R.I.1992).
Nonetheless, RI utilizes standard negligence doctrines for liability determinations for dogs who bite or injure third party’s within the dog’s enclosure.
“If injuries are suffered within an owner’s enclosed area, the strict-liability statute does not apply, but rather the common law continues to apply and dictates that the plaintiff first must prove that the defendant knew about the dog’s vicious propensities, a scienter requirement commonly referred to as the “one-bite rule.” See Montiero, 813 A.2d at 981. Barry E. DuBOIS et al. v Frederick QUILITZSCH et al, 21 A.3d 375 (2011) . http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9579022310924464977&q=dog+bite+outside+enclosure&hl=en&as_sdt=4,40
Does a dog get a free bite in Massachusetts? (Answer by Massachusetts dog attack Attorney David Slepkow)
Under Massachusetts law there is strict liability in nearly all instances for the owner or keeper of a dog that causes injury or property damage. MA law does not distinguish between injuries within an enclosure and outside an enclosure. Mass. appears to have the most favorable laws for victims of dog attacks, dog bites and dog caused injuries and deaths.
“Strict liability. In Massachusetts, by statute, owners and keepers of dogs are strictly liable for any harm done by their animal. General Laws c. 140, § 155,replaces the older common-law rule that owners cannot be held liable in negligence for damage caused by their dog unless they had knowledge of a dog’s vicious propensity.,,,,,The statute is indifferent to any question of negligence on the part of the owner” AUDETTE v.COMMONWEALTH, 63 Mass. App. Ct. 727 (2005)
General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 140: Section 155. Liability for damage caused by dog; minors; presumption and burden of proof.
Section 155. If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, is under seven years of age at the time the damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof thereof shall be upon the defendant in such action. General Laws c. 140, § 155, as amended by St. 1968, c. 268,
Pit bulls are widely known as dangerous and sometime vicious canines especially. According dogbitelaw.com to “This is the breed responsible for the vast majority of fatal maulings of human beings, and the worst injuries.” http://dogbitelaw.com/Table/dog-bite-victims/dangerous-vicious-dogs/ However, many pit bulls are friendly animals and the bad apples are often as result of irresponsible and reckless breeders and owners of the canines.
Forbes listed some of the most dangerous dogs: “Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers, Doberman Pinschers,Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Chows, Great Danes, Presa Canarios, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Wolf-hybrids.”