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Understanding the one-bite rule

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2019 | Personal Injury |

Regardless of whether or not you are a dog lover, it is difficult to deny that canines provide millions of Americans with loving companionship. Indeed, the ease at which they can be trained and domesticated often causes many to look past the fact that they are still animals, and as animals, they possess certain instincts that can lead them to act aggressively. If you have been bitten by a dog, you know this better than most. You also know that such an injury can be costly, and can have you wondering whether you can hold their owners legally liable. Many have come to us here at The Law Office of Michael J. Joshi with the same question. The answer depends on where the incident occurred. 

According to the Cornell Law School, a legal principle exists known as “the one-bite rule.” This states that you can only hold a dog owner liable for injuries their animal inflicts if there were prior evidence available to them that suggested their dog had the propensity to act aggressively. Essentially, this rule allows a dog one bite before an owner is legally responsible for its actions. However, enforcement of this principle is not uniform across the country. Kansas is a one-bite state, while Missouri is not. 

Missouri actually adheres to a strict liability standard when it comes to dog bites. This means that you can hold a dog owner liable for a bite even if the dog had not displayed any aggression toward others in the past. You can learn more about assigning liability in personal injury cases by continuing to explore our site.