In many states, laws surrounding animal bites can make pursuing compensation for damages complicated. In New York State, we follow what’s known as the “One Bite” Law. The “One Bite” Law states that an owner is only liable for their animal’s injurious actions if the dog or animal, to the owner’s knowledge, has bitten before. Some view this as a free pass while others believe it is a fair law.
In essentially all scenarios, there must be proof that the owner knew their animal’s prior behavior could lead to an attack. Here are some reasons a court may hold the owner liable:
These circumstances can be difficult to prove alone. But an experienced Dog Bite Attorney or Animal Attack Attorney will be able to prove liability and get their client the maximum compensation they deserve.
There are instances when owners aren’t held liable, including but not limited to these circumstances:
An experienced Dog Bite Attorney or Animal Attack Attorney is essential in fighting these defenses.
Animals are known to be unpredictable. And every dog owner knows how difficult it can be to keep their dog from being territorial or vicious when they are scared. Here is a great tutorial on how to train your dog to be less violent.
While many states follow the “One Bite” Law, other states follow a “Strict Liability” Law that disregards this one “free pass”, as some would call it. Not all dog bites are reported, nor vicious behavior. Even if a Dog Bite Attorney can prove that a dog has displayed violent behavior in the past, liability may still be up in the air. It could have not been reported, the prior owner could have neglected to tell the current owner about the dog’s violent behavior, or the current owner could actually know but act oblivious. And with any of those scenarios, they aren’t liable.
Is this fair? A dog bite victim could lose everything they’ve worked for in life. They could be injured to the point where they are facing medical bills and lost wages that span on into the future. Is this “free pass” ethical? The “One Bite” Law was created several years ago. Is it time we reconsider its efficacy to uphold the rights of ordinary citizens?