What is the One Bite Rule for Dogs?

Injury & Accident Attorney Serving Nearby Areas of Columbus & Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama

Posted: May 22, 2019

dog-bite-arm.jpgA dog attack is a terrifying experience. No one wants to be put in this position or have their loved one put through it. Unfortunately, dog attacks are not entirely uncommon. At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we have witnessed first-hand the tragic and traumatic outcomes of dog attacks.

We care about our clients and their ability to rebuild their lives. Our injury attorneys in Georgia and Alabama are extensively familiar with our states' dog bite laws. We determine the best path to pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.

An Explanation of the One Bite Rule

You may be wondering if a so-called one bite rule applies to your situation. The short answer is probably not, and if you are a dog attack victim, that is usually a good thing. One bite laws tend to be a little less flexible in regard to the victim.

In general, a "one bite rule" means a dog owner can be held liable for their dog biting someone only if the dog bit someone before, i.e. the dog gets one bite without their owner being liable. The owner could claim they did not know the dog was vicious if it was the first time it bit someone.

The idea is that a dog owner shouldn't be held at-fault if their dog suddenly attacks someone, without any prior attacks in its past. But the owner is basically on notice once the dog does bite someone that they can be held liable for the next attack.

Certain states have laws based on one bite rules. Other states will hold the owner liable if they knew or should have known the dog was vicious, regardless of whether it previously bit someone. Some states follow strict liability laws, which means they may be liable even if they weren't acting negligently or with intent to harm. Still other locales may have laws that are some version of all of these.

Dog Bite Laws in Georgia and Alabama

Purely one-bite-rule reasoning has proven indefensible in some courts. The laws in our region have evolved to recognize that a dog owner may be responsible for compensating your injuries even if their dog had not previously attacked someone.

The takeaway? Call our lawyers to find out what is possible in your case. After reviewing the details of the attack, we can investigate whether:

  • The dog owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous or vicious
  • The dog owner failed to take steps to keep a vicious dog away from the public
  • The dog owner was negligent while supervising an interaction with their pet, such as an interaction between the pet and a child
  • The owner violated a leash law and therefore is strictly liable for an attack the occurred at the time

You are unlikely to have a case if the dog bit you while you were trespassing on someone else's property, but you are likely to have a case if you were bitten while a guest at someone's house or out in public, as long as you are deemed not to have provoked or caused the attack.

Each state we work in – Alabama and Georgia – have their own laws, rules and precedents related to dog bite injuries. As a victim, don't get bogged down in the minutia of the laws just yet. Instead, call us for a free discussion of what took place and your options for pursuing compensation from the owner.

Find Out If You Have a Case

We provide a complimentary consultation so that you can find out if you have a case. To arrange your evaluation, please contact the experienced Phenix City, Fort Benning and Columbus dog bite lawyers at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce.

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