If a neighbor’s dog bites you, you might wonder whether the so-called ‘one-free bite rule’ would apply to the situation or not. Imagine that a neighbor’s dog approached and bit you when you were trying to fix the damaged fence, situated around your backyard. In a US state with the free bite legislation, you could not litigate that dog’s owner if it is the first time the animal biting someone. However, this rule does not usually apply in California state.
This means, in most cases, the California-based victim can sue the neighbor who owns the dog. This is because the latter would be liable for letting it out, which in turn caused the aforementioned incident. Letting the animal come around your property, where the incident happened, would amount to the negligence of your neighbor who owns the dog. In a state where the free bite rule exists, they could escape liability if the aforementioned incident has not happened before. This possibility is what the ‘one-free bite’ part in the law refers to.
However, your odds of suing the party concerned and winning the case would be less if you entered their property when the incident happened. In this particular situation, even a skilled dog lawyer may find it difficult to establish that the neighbor’s negligence brought about your injuries.
This has aspects that are similar to a real estate lawsuit. After all, you being present within your fence or outside of it, is potentially a matter of a few centimetres. Should you have unknowingly entered the neighbor’s property at the time of the incident, then lady luck would smile on your neighbor.
The main point in all of the aforementioned is whether the neighbor is negligent in some way or not. To win a litigation process against somebody over negligence, it is important to establish the following.
- That someone has to have a duty of care to the victim;
- They must have violated the duty thereof;
- The said violation must have caused the issue; and,
- There needs to be physical damage to the injured claimant or plaintiff.
To prove the fourth point, a dog attack lawyer must have documented evidence that the party suffered the injuries due to the incident. Proving the three other points can be a case of ‘my word against yours’ unless the injured has solid evidence to support their version of the events.