Negligent Dog Owners Facing Liability
The way in which dog owners are found legally responsible for their dog’s actions are through three legal doctrines, negligence being the third one. If a person is harmed by a dog, and the owner acted negligently, they could face the burden of their dog’s actions.
The facts of the case should show how an owner was negligent in the given situation that made an injury happen. Under the circumstances, was the owner acting reasonably? That is the question that needs to be asked. If they were acting reasonably, then they would not be liable. Here’s an example where an owner would not be held responsible because they acted how they should have:
- A person is bitten by a dog as they walked up to it, while the dog was chained, and had a warning sign nearby saying “Beware of Dog”. In this case, the owner took the appropriate steps in securing his dog from being able to reach the sidewalk, and by placing the warning sign to prevent people from getting near. The person who got bitten was the reckless one in this case because they still went up to the dog on their own knowing that they could be injured, and so the owner would not be held responsible for his or her injuries.
If an owner of a certain breed of dog that has aggressive tendencies, such as a Rottweiler, did not take precautions from stopping their dog in injuring someone, then the owner would be found responsible.
The Owner Violating the Law
If a violation of the law from the owner’s part leads to an injury, then the victim can solely base their claim on that violation. A common violation that some owners do is allowing their dogs to be off the leash, when there is a law enforced about leashing dogs in that state., and the dog ends up biting a person or running into upcoming traffic causing an accident, then the basis of the claim would be how the owner violated the leash law, and was negligent by doing so.
Instances Where Negligence Is Irrelevant
Whether an owner can be sued due to negligence or not is determined differently in every state. Some states only make an owner liable for the injuries if they knew that their dog could be a danger to others, which is the one-bite rule. Wanting to impose liability on an owner for negligence is not foundation to go on in these states, such as New York.
There was a case about a mail carrier that got injured after she jumped through her car window. She jumped to try and get away from a dog who was unleashed in the yard and was running towards her, but the dog had stopped 6-feet away and did not bark or show signs of threatening her. The outcomes in this case was only whether the owner knew that their dog could have been a threat, and in this case, the dog did not do anything vicious. The owner was found to not be liable for the mail carrier’s injuries even though he violated the leash law.
Guest post authored by a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney
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