Most states and the District of Columbia impose liability on a dog owner for all dog bites even if the dog previously was a "good dog." The victim is compensated through the dog owner's homeowners or renters insurance. A minority of states observe the "one bite rule" which shields a dog owner from liability unless he knew that it tended to bite, or caused the bite negligently or intentionally, or violated a leash law or other animal control law.
To gain a general understanding of the legal rights of a dog bite victim, read "For Dog Bite Victims". Following that, select any of the following topics for additional information.
- The basics
- "Statutory strict liability states"
- "One bite states" and "mixed dog bite statute states"
- Negligence per se for violating a leash law or other animal control law
- City and county law, and how to find it yourself
- Laws of foreign nations
- Liability for failure to stop an attack in progress
- Liability to trespassers and burglars
- Other grounds for liability
- The amount of money the victim should receive
- Who actually pays the damages
- How to find out whether the liable person is insured
- What to do when the dog owner says he is uninsured
- What will happen to the dog
- How to know if you have a good case