The Rhode Island Supreme Court has upheld what is commonly known as the "one bite rule." Essentially, this means that if a dog bites or attacks another person within its owner's enclosed area, the owner may only be held liable if he or she was aware of the dog's aggressive tendencies. If a dog had never attacked or bitten a person prior to the first incident, it can be argued that the owner had no idea that the dog was vicious or aggressive. However, this rule does not apply to all dog bite cases and it may be possible to bring a personal injury claim even when there is no history of a dog being aggressive.
At the law firm of Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum, Attorneys at Law, Inc., our Cranston lawyers will work hard to help you and your loved ones recover compensation when serious injuries have been caused by another person's dog. Contact us online or call 888-591-9976 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Providence personal injury lawyers.
The Myth of Dogs Being Allowed "One Bite Free"
In general, dog bite injury cases are governed by strict liability. That is, a dog owner is strictly liable for any injuries suffered by a human as the result of a dog attack. However, strict liability does not necessarily apply for injuries caused by a dog that is within its owner's enclosure. This is where the "one bite free" rule comes into play. If a dog had not previously bitten or attacked someone while in its owner's enclosure, the owner will usually not be held liable for any damages.
It is also important to note that the Rhode Island Supreme Court has recently held that "one bite free" is only meant to be a shorthand expression when it comes to determining whether an owner should be aware of a dog's aggressive tendencies. If a dog had previously scratched, assaulted or otherwise engaged in aggressive behavior that resulted in injury to another person or child, then the dog owner should be aware of its aggressive tendencies, regardless of whether the dog actually bit another person.
The key to determining liability in these cases is whether or not a dog is within its owner's enclosure. A fenced backyard would likely be considered to be an enclosure. An unfenced front yard, however, may not. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the attack to determine whether or not you have a strong case. It is also important to note that if a dog had previously attacked another person while in its owner's enclosure, the amount of damages that may be recovered double.
Contact Our Providence Area Attorneys for Dog Attack Claims
Even if a dog does not have an aggressive history, it may still be possible to hold the owner liable for any injuries suffered as the result of a bite or an attack. Contact us online or call 888-591-9976 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim.