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Animal Attack Archives

Dog Attacks: The One-Bite Rule in Louisiana

May 31, 2017 Animal Attack 0 Comments

dog attackIf you’ve ever heard someone refer to the “one-bite rule” in reference to being bitten by a dog, you may have wondered what it was. It’s very simple.

The one-bite rule is related to establishing negligence in personal injury claims for dog bites. Owners can only be deemed negligent for a dog bite if they knew or had reason to know that their dog would bite someone. In other words, if a dog bites you or a loved one but had never bitten a person before, or acted in a threatening manner before, you may not be successful in pursuing a claim for negligence and personal injury.

If, on the other hand, a dog has bitten someone previously, and it bites you or a loved one, the owner may be found responsible for damages. According to the one-bite rule, once a dog has bitten someone, the owner must take steps to make sure that the dog cannot harm people. If the court finds that reasonable care to restrain the dog and protect people was not taken, and that failure was responsible for the injury, the owner is liable for damages.

Louisiana law on dog bites

Louisiana law uses the one-bite rule, but also has several other requirements for the owner to be found liable for damages.

  • First, the owner needs to have known or should have known that the dog was dangerous to people. This might include dangerous behavior other than biting, such as growling or striking at people.
  • Second, it needs to be a fact that any injury or damage could have been prevented had the owner taken reasonable care to prevent it. For example, putting a dog in a back yard with a fence surrounding it might be deemed reasonable care to avoid injury.
  • Third, the owner did not take sufficient care to prevent injury.
  • Fourth, the animal was not provoked by the person injured or other persons.

Louisiana law does not pertain only to bites, but to other injuries as well. If an animal knocks a child down and causes injury, for example, it falls under the “dog bite” statute.

The statute also covers animals other than dogs. If, for instance, a horse causes an injury to a person, it is covered by this statute.

Defenses against Louisiana dog bite law

The owner can use several defenses. The first is that the injured party or another party provoked the animal. If a dog is fenced in, for example, and neighborhood teenagers are poking at it with a stick, resultant dog bites, occurring through the fence or as a result of a dog jumping the fence, might be considered the result of provocation.

The second is comparative negligence. An owner could argue that the injured party bears part of the blame. If neighbors cut across a backyard despite “Beware of Dog” signs prominently displayed, it can be argued that they were partially to blame for being attacked by a dog. Any monetary damages, if that argument is successful, are reduced by the percentage the court finds the plaintiff at fault.

Need a dog bite attorney?

If you have issues with a dog bite or other injury involving an animal, we can help. Bart Bernard Personal Injury Law Firm has offices for your convenience in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana.

For a free consultation with a Baton Rouge or Lafayette dog bite attorney, call today or contact us online.

Additional “Louisiana one bite law” resources:

  1. Dog Bites. WebMD. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/dog-bites#1
  2. State of Louisiana, Department of Health and Hospitals. Center for Community and Preventive Health. Protocol for Animal Control and Law Enforcement Agencies Addressing Animal Bites and Potential Rabies Exposures. June 6, 2013. http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/assets/oph/Center-PHCH/Center-CH/infectious-epi/VetInfo/Rabies/QuarantineEuthanasiaPolicyOPH.pdf
  3. Louisiana Civil Code. Book III. Of the Different Modes of Acquiring the Ownership of Things. Title V. Obligations Arising Without Agreement. Chapter 3. Of Offenses and Quasi Offenses. Art. 2321. Damage caused by animals. https://www.animallaw.info/statute/la-dog-bite-art-2321-damage-caused-animals


Questions of Liability in Louisiana Animal Attacks

May 31, 2017 Animal Attack 0 Comments

beware of dogWhile dog bites are responsible for a significant proportion of lawsuits brought over animal attack injuries, an alarming number of incidents involving other animals such as ferrets, snakes, birds and cats also lead to litigation. Regardless of the type of animal responsible for causing serious harm, it is important for victims to familiarize themselves with the liability rules which may help them secure fair financial compensation.

Dangerous animal attacks

The unfortunate truth is that even pets who appear to be fully domesticated and well-behaved can sometimes act on their natural attack instincts and produce serious injury to unsuspecting visitors. In addition, there are also situations in which individuals negligently attempt to keep wild animals on their property, in violation of local laws and regulations. Too often the result is an animal attack injury that leaves the victim to contend with costly medical bills, lasting disability, lost wages, physical agony and emotional trauma from which it can be difficult to completely recover.

Liability when animals attack in Louisiana

Louisiana statute provides that an animal’s owner is answerable for any harm it does to others, provided there is a showing that he or she knew or should have known that harm would likely ensue, that reasonable care could have prevented the harm and that such care was not taken.

Individuals who take it upon themselves to house animals typically considered to be wild in nature, including alligators and monkeys, are typically considered liable for the harm those animals cause to others.

In cases involving dog attacks, a clearly stated strict liability standard has been legislatively imposed on owners across the state. This means that a dog’s owner is liable for injuries to property or persons stemming from an attack which are not traceable to the victim’s own provocation of the animal. This is true even if the dog in question exhibited no prior history of aggressive behavior.

Potential defenses to animal bite claims

Despite the strict liability standard applied in dog attack cases across Louisiana, certain defenses do exist which may be raised by animal owners in order to escape responsibility for paying damages. For instance, a dog owner may argue that he or she had no ability to prevent what ultimately occurred, that the victim engaged in behaviors which provoked the injurious behavior, and/or that the victim was not lawfully on the premises where the incident took place. As in all injury cases, a comprehensive examination of the underlying facts conducted by a knowledgeable attorney is critical to formulating effective counterarguments in the face of such defense tactics.

Fighting on behalf of animal attack victims

Nobody expects to be the target of a vicious animal attack. Because every type of animal attack requires thorough investigation and sound legal strategies, the aid of a seasoned injury attorney can be vital to obtaining the outcome victims deserve. If you have suffered due to the actions of a dangerous animal and the potential negligence of the person responsible for housing and controlling it, Louisiana dog bite attorney Bart Bernard is prepared to help assert your right to justice. To learn more, call the firm’s Baton Rouge or Lafayette location.

Additional Resources on Louisiana Dog and Animal Attacks:

  1. Louisiana State Legislature, Art. 2321 – Damage caused by animals, https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=109384
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Preventing Dog Bites, http://www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/
  3. American Veterinary Medicine Association, Infographic: Dog Bites by the Numbers, https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/Infographic-Dog-Bites-Numbers.aspx