Is the Owner Responsible for Dog Bite Injuries If They Were Not There?
If you incurred dog bite injuries in Boise, Idaho, no matter if the owner of the dog was present or not, you are probably wondering whether you can hold them liable. The answer is a little more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.”
The best way to understand your rights and legal options is to discuss the circumstances of your injuries with a dog bite injury attorney in Boise. In-depth knowledge of Idaho laws can also help you determine dog bite liability in your case.
Idaho Laws and Establishing Dog Bite Liability
As any attorney familiar with dog bite injuries will confirm, in Idaho, the first step to establishing liability for a dog bite is to clarify whether the dog was classified as “at-risk” or “dangerous,” how serious the injuries the dog caused were, and whether “justified provocation” occurred. The following definitions according to Idaho Title 25, Chapter 25, Section 25-2810 will surely help:
- At-risk dog – Any dog that has bitten someone without justified provocation and without inflicting serious injury.
- Dangerous dog – Any dog that, without justified provocation, inflicts serious injury or, after being classified as at-risk and physically attacks or bites someone.
- Justified provocation – Any action a reasonable person with basic knowledge of dog behavior would consider likely to precipitate a dog attack or a bite.
- Physical attack – The aggressive action of a dog upon a person involving physical contact.
- Serious injury – A personal injury that involves the piercing of the hypodermis and tearing of muscles, blood vessels, and or disfiguring laceration that would reasonably require medical treatment, no matter if the victim sought treatment.
Perhaps the most relevant stipulation when it comes to dog bite liability falls under Code Section 25-2810, paragraph (10). According to it, dogs that physically attack, wound, bite, or otherwise injure a person who is not trespassing, without being provoked, subject their owner to civil liability for the injuries caused.
However, in all civil litigations, the claimant has to prove the defendant’s liability. The prior determination that the dog is at-risk or dangerous and the owner’s presence when the dog bite injuries occurred may help, but they are not a prerequisite.
Prior Determination of Whether a Dog Is Dangerous or At-Risk and Dog Bite Liability
In order to classify a dog as dangerous or at-risk, the person the dog bit, physically attacked, the parent of the child the dog injured, or a prosecuting attorney would have to file a petition in this sense and show that the dog behaved as described in the above definitions.
If an owner knows their dog represents a risk for other persons and fails to take reasonable measures to prevent such risks, they are liable for any preventable harm the dog may cause as a result of their negligence.
As a result, upon taking a new case, an experienced dog bite injuries lawyer in Boise will usually verify if the dog that attacked their client is registered as dangerous or at-risk. If it is, the court will likely order the owner to take some or all of the following measures:
- Confine the dog to a secure enclosure and prevent accidental entry of unauthorized persons when outdoors
- Implant a microchip on the dog to make it easier to identify
- Keep the dog on a leash when taking it off their property
- Post a visible sign warning about the presence of a dangerous dog on their property
- Notify an agency that can care for your dog when relocating it or transferring ownership to a trusted party who is aware of the dog’s issues
If the owner fails to comply with any of the measures above and the dog bite injuries lawyer can prove it, their case is half-won. However, as any dog bite attorney may clarify, the owner cannot be held liable for their dog’s behavior if such behavior was the result of justified provocation.
Justified Provocation – When the Idaho Dog Owner Cannot Be Held Liable
Proving dog bite liability will be difficult, if not impossible, in any of circumstances described below:
- The dog was defending or protecting someone in its immediate vicinity from an assault or attack
- The person the dog bit was trespassing or committing an offense or a crime on the property of the dog owner
- The person the dog bit or attacked willfully tormented, assaulted, or abused the dog, either before or at the time of the dog bite/attack
- The dog responded to injury or pain or was protecting its offspring
- The dog was used for hunting, herding, or predator control, and the person it injured interfered with the dog’s activity
- The person the dog bit or attacked intervened in a fight between the respective dog and one or more animals
- The aggressive dog is a service dog, trained to perform certain tasks for a disabled person
Dog Owner’s Absence from the Scene
As mentioned above, the owner’s presence is not a prerequisite for their liability. However, they had the responsibility to take reasonable precautions like those mentioned above and they neglected their duty. If any dog bite injuries were the result of their negligence, then the injured party should consider hiring an experienced dog bite lawyer.
Hire Joe Frick to Prove Dog Bite Liability and Seek Compensation for Your Dog Bite Injuries
Would you like to know if you can receive compensation for the dog bite injuries you incurred, how much money you can receive, and how to obtain it? Contact Joe Frick Law now, and schedule a free case evaluation at our office in Boise! You will receive answers to all your questions and advice on the best course of action for proving dog bite liability from an experienced and dedicated lawyer who has your best interests at heart.