When Dogs Bite People: The One-Bite Rule

The dog bite law is a combination of city and county ordinances, state statutory law, state case law. The majority of states make dog owners responsible for all dog bites by simply basing that they own the dog that did the biting. The victim’s legal damages are covered by homeowners and renters insurance policies purchased by dog owners, and by general liability policies.

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When a dog bites a person, the person can recover full compensation from the dog owner’s insurance policy or renters insurance policy (or even from the dog owner, if he does not have any insurance). The legal grounds differs from place to place because this depends on state statutes, county and city ordinances and court decisions.

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A bite victim is entitled to recover if he can prove at least one of the following scenarios:

  • The dog that bit him had bitten another person in the past, and that the dog owner is already aware that it bit that other person.
  • The dog that bit him was outside the boundaries of the owner’s house, but was not on a leash, so this in violation of the local leash law.
  • Someone did something negligent or a misleading act. With this, the victim was bitten as a result. A state or local law makes the dog owner fully liable unconditionally or may have fewer conditions than what is stated.
  • People and companies who do not own the dog can also be responsible if they are already aware that the dog was vicious but allowed the dog to come into contact with the victim.

For more specific examples of each scenario above and more information about the one bite rule, please contact a dog bite attorney in Orlando, Florida.

The One-Bite Rule

The terms “one-bite rule” and “first bite free rule” are inaccurate because a “bite” is not necessarily required. A victim has the right to recover if he can justify that the dog previously showed that it wanted to bite people and that the dog owner knew (or is aware) that the dog has been vicious. It is a knowledge for all states that a dog owner is liable if he knew that his dog had the tendency to bite people (with or without justification).

The one bite rule is still very important to know though every state has its own dog bite statute and differs from state to state. Moreover, the one-bite rule does not only applies to dog bites but also to cases involving any domestic animal.

Here’s a video about “dog bite liability”: