As far as most dog owners are concerned, their dog is the cutest and most loving member of the family. It’s hard for them to imagine that they could harm anybody at all.
However, when you look at the statistics from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an astounding 4.5 million people are victims of dog bites every year. Dogs who are gentle and playful around their owners need not necessarily display the same behavior to strangers and children consistently. The degree of severity of the attack can vary from a small nip to serious injuries, lifelong scars and deformities, nerve damage, to even death. The emotional and financial consequences of such an attack can be devastating, which is why if you have ever been at the receiving end of a dog bite, it’s important to get in touch with a dog bite accident lawyer at the earliest so you can file for an appropriate settlement.
Dog Bites – Underrated Situation
The CDC report further elaborates that one in every five dog bite results in an infection. Children are found to be most susceptible to such attacks when they are visiting a home where a dog lives. Not all dogs are tolerant to teasing by children.
When it comes to dog bites, Oregon has the “one-bite” policy in place. According to this rule, the owner of a dog who has attacked a person has legal liability if the owner was aware that the dog was “potentially harmful.” If the dog has bitten, harassed, or harmed another person in any way prior to this event, the owner is liable to face charges for negligence.
In the unfortunate event that you suffer from a dog bite, it is imperative that you immediately seek help from a reliable dog bite accident lawyer. It needs to be noted that if you have been injured through a dog bite, a lawsuit needs to be filed within two years of the injury occurring or the suit has a high likelihood of being dismissed.
One-Bite Rule – Deciding Factors
Under Oregon law, the legal implications of a dog bite are clearly stated. The rule provides the owner of a dog the freedom to assume, in the absence of any definitive history of violence, that the dog does not pose any kind of danger to people. However, once an episode of harm occurs, the owner is officially notified of the dog’s potentially harmful behavior, and henceforth will be responsible for any episodes of the dog harming other people. Even with the one-bite rule standing in Oregon, a dog owner can be legally charged on the very first episode of a dog bite if the injuries sustained are serious.
It is not necessary that only a dog bite will have legal implications. A lot of dogs have the tendency to jump on other people and knock them down, especially the large breeds. Even this behavior can put the owner in trouble and make him susceptible to a lawsuit.
In the event that a dog bite or harmful episode from a dog results in a dispute and eventually lands in court, the jury or judge will then have to discern whether the owner actually had knowledge of the dog’s harmful behavior. There are various factors that a court will need to consider to arrive at a decision. These include:
Previous incidents – This is pretty much a no-brainer. If there is a previous recorded history of a dog biting or harming somebody in any other way, then the owner is aware of the dog’s behavior and should have taken appropriate measures to prevent it from happening again.
Scaring People – Some dogs tend to bark at strangers and run beside the fence that separates them from pedestrians and cyclists or even car drivers passing through outside the property. In the event that such behavior results in an injury, there is a chance that the owner could be legally implicated.
Jumpers – Large dogs tend to jump on to people at home and even regular house guests, often in a friendly way. Owing to its large size, this behavior could potentially result in injuring a stranger who walks into the home unexpectedly. In such cases, the owner needs to take appropriate measures to prevent such injuries.
Barking – A dog that runs around a fenced yard and barks excessively at strangers but has never snarled, growled, or lunged at a person will not generally get its owner in trouble with the law when it bites somebody for the first time. In most cases, the owner is sent off with a warning.
Breed – Generally, the breed of the dog doesn’t come into question when it comes to a dog bite suit. So, just because you have a German Shepherd or a Doberman and it bit somebody the first time, you generally won’t be convicted solely on the basis of the dog’s breed. However, in some states, dogs like the pit ball are deemed to be dangerous by law and the owner has a higher chance of being convicted.
Fighting other canines – In the scenario where a dog is friendly with people, but tends to pick up fights with other dogs, the owner cannot be legally implicated. How a dog behaves with another dog is not a reliable indicator for its behavior with people. This is pretty black and white.
Dogfight – Dog owners who train their dogs to fight will almost certainly find themselves in hot water in the event of their dog biting or harming somebody. Although there are arguments that fight dogs behavior with other dogs does not have anything to do with their behavior towards people, judges can rule that fight dogs are in state of agitation and can be easily provoked.
Dogs are without question loyal companions and have proved to be great house pets. That being said, owners have to be responsible for their dog’s behavior and take necessary precautions to prevent any scenario where they could potentially cause harm to somebody else, especially children. The damage sustained by a canine attack can be irreversible at times. This is why you need to get in touch with a dog bite accident lawyer in Oregon to ensure you get the settlement you deserve.