The Differences Between One Bite and Strict Liability Laws

Dog bite

Dog bite liability varies from one state to another. There are two basic laws that cover this — a strict liability and one bite. Both laws have distinct differences based on the state where a bite occurs, and understanding both provide you with the information you need to take the next step in the legal process.

Consult with a dog bite lawyer in Provo to determine the legal actions to take for either strict liability or one bite statutes. Here’s what you need to know:

Strict Liability

This law for dog bites cites that a defendant is liable for a certain event, even if they could have prevented that event from happening. Liability arises if a dog bites the plaintiff and includes the following situations:

  • The dog bit the plaintiff without any provocation
  • The bite occurred in a place where the plaintiff could legally enter or be at.

Under the strict liability in some states, the owner is liable regardless of what they knew, did, or unaware of the dog’s actions before the bite. However, the statutes may be different depending on the state. In some cases, the law only applies to a bite that took place in public spaces. Some courts also allow the defense to use the argument that a plaintiff received warnings prior to the bite and some apply to attacks in general.

One Bite

The old interpretation of this law cites that an owner is only liable for the bite when they have reason to know that the pet might bite. Put simply, a dog gets ‘one free bite’ under this interpretation. However, today’s interpretation means that a dog does not necessarily get a free bite. If an owner knew that his or her dog is an aggressive breed, its character is prone to biting or because of recent events such as injury and/or surgeries the owner can be liable for the first bite of a pet.

The above mentioned differences help individuals, whether they are the defendant or plaintiff, determine if they can make a claim or protect themselves from liability.