Nebraska law is favorable to dog bite victims. Dog owners are liable for any and all damages to anyone except a trespasser. The dog bite statute has an unusual limitation, however, which is discussed below.
- Litigation forms and other materials for attorneys
- If your case involves injury to a dog, see When a Dog Is Injured or Killed
Nebraska has the following strict liability law:
54-601. Dogs; personal property; owner liable for damages.
Dogs are hereby declared to be personal property for all intents and purposes, and the owner or owners of any dog or dogs shall be liable for any and all damages that may accrue (1) to any person, other than a trespasser, by reason of having been bitten by any such dog or dogs and (2) to any person, firm, or corporation by reason of such dog or dogs killing, wounding, injuring, worrying, or chasing any person or persons or any sheep or other domestic animals belonging to such person, firm, or corporation. Such damage may be recovered in any court having jurisdiction of the amount claimed.
The foregoing statute does not apply only to bites, but to any means of injury, including scratches, knock-downs, etc. The legislative intent in this regard was set forth in Underhill v. Hobelman, 279 Neb. 30, 34 (2009).
It has been held that the dog bite statute does not apply to damages caused by playful and mischievous acts of dogs. Donner v. Plymate, 193 Neb. 647, 649-650 (1975), Underhill v. Hobelman, 279 Neb. 30, 33 (2009). In such cases, the victim must satisfy the requirements of the "one bite rule" (i.e., the scienter cause of action), or any of the other causes of action described in Legal Rights of a Dog Bite Victim. This unusual limitation on the dog bite statute should prompt an amendment to the statute, which should make clear that liability exists