The “One Free Bite” Law and its Implications

Lawyers For Dog Bites
Dog Attack Attorney

As per the “one bite law”, if the dog owner had no reason to think it would bite and it did bite someone, then he or she escaped liability. This law gives the benefit of doubt to its owner, but from that free dog bite onward, he or she knew and had the responsibility to make sure his or her dog was secured.

Nowadays, some states in the US have a spinoff of this law concerning dog bite. In those states, if its owner was unsure it would bite, and if he or she took steps to make sure people were safe, the owner can at times escape legal liability or can change the charge to negligence.

Proving the Liability

The liability is hard to prove in court. The dog bite victim has to show there were several reasons as well as warning signs that it might bite. The person may cite the breed of the dog as one factor. He or she has to make the jury believe it was likelier than not the case that its owner knew it might bite.

Take this as an example: The dog had just given birth to puppies and has them hidden under the porch. The owner knows about it and that if an outsider or stranger attempts to reach the dog, it will perhaps bite to protect its puppies. If its owner does not warn that stranger and he or she gets bitten while attempting to get it out from the porch, then it is reasonable to suppose they knew that was a danger.

If the canine has sustained an injury or had undergone a medical procedure earlier and its owner does not warn others not to disturb it or touch its injured part, he or she can be legally responsible if it bites. Although, under the “one free bite law”, if the owner warned the other party and kept the dog in a place where it should have been left undisturbed, and yet the visitor ignored it and touched the canine anyway, thereby leading to a bite, then the owner is not liable.

So this law does not automatically provide each dog permission to bite somebody. However, the law allows for certain circumstances where the owner of the dog is not held liable for the first time incident.

The Laws in California

Californiais a “strict liability” state. As per lawyers for dog bites, the state does not recognize this particular “one free bite law” at all. If someone is in a private or public place where he or she is allowed to be legally, and he or she does not provoke the dog, then its owner is legally responsible for it biting the person.

Basically, this is the stand of the state. It is the dog owner’s responsibility to train, restrain, and control their dog when it is close to someone else. It may have never displayed aggression, but it is in an animal’s nature to be frightened and revert to attack as a form of defense. In such situations, it is the owner’s duty to ensure it cannot get to others.

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