Dog Bites FAQ
What are the legal rights of a dog bite victim?
When a dog injures a person, whether by biting him, knocking him down or hurting him in another way, the burden of the loss should be on the shoulder of the owner of the dog, not the victim. Two-thirds of American states follow this rule. The legal rights of a dog bite victim depend on where the attack happened, i.e. the city, county and state. The laws vary from city to city, county to county, and state to state. In every state, a dog owner is legally liable for bites to people inflicted viciously by a dog that previously bit a person viciously. In almost every state, a victim can recover compensation from (a) a person whose negligence caused the attack, and (b) a person who violated a leash law, a law prohibiting dogs from “running at large,” a trespass law applicable to dogs, and other dog safety laws. In most states, a victim can recover compensation even for the first bite by a dog, whether or not the owner was negligent. People who are remotely connected with the dog are also made liable like a landlord might be liable if he knows that a tenant keeps a dog that bites people, provided that the landlord has the legal power to get rid of the tenant.