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Dog Attack Victims

Rhode Island Dog Bite Attorney

Pets can be a wonderful addition to an individual’s life until the dog attacks a victim. A dog may turn vicious for no apparent reason! Today we know that some breeds of dogs, like pit bulls and bull terriers, are indeed known for their aggressive tendencies. The owners, when they choose any breed of canine have a responsibility for their actions and any injuries that the animal may cause. Even well trained and friendly dogs will attack victims out of the blue, shocking both the victim as well as the dog owners. These injuries can lead to serious infections for the attacked victim along with deep physical and emotional pain that sometimes may result in the dog attack victim’s death.

When a person is bitten by a dog, the dog bite statute of Rhode Island provides for strict liability unless the dog was confined. It also mandates that, if attacked by a dog that previously came within the state law, the victim is entitled to double damages.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court summarized the state’s dog bite statute in just 10 words: “strict liability attaches for any injury occurring outside the dog’s enclosure.”

The strict liability of the dog-bite statute is predicated on the location of the dog at the time of injury. It has been established that “the clause ‘while traveling on the highway or out of the enclosure of the owner or keeper of such dog’ modifies the word ‘person’ and not the word ‘dog.’ ” Wilbur v. Gross, 55 R.I. 473, 478, 182 A. 597, 599 (1936). “Therefore, the dog-bite statute imposes strict liability in any circumstance wherein the dog is outside of its owner’s enclosure.” Johnston v. Poulin, 844 A.2d 707 (Rhode Isl. Sup. Ct., 2004).

The dog bite has the following features:

  • It applies not only to owners but to anyone who is a “keeper” of the dog.
  • Any injury brings the incident within the coverage of the law, whether or not a bite.
  • The victim can be a human, a dog or other domestic animal, or a sheep, lamb, cattle, horse, hog, swine or fowl.
  • After the first bite, a dog owner or keeper is liable for double damages if and when the same dog attacks again.

When the statute does not apply, a dog owner, harborer or keeper still can be responsible for being negligent or breaking a law, such as a leash law, or for intentional conduct that causes the dog to bite.

Here are a few dog attack victims topics to discuss with your dog bite lawyer:

  • What to do immediately after the attack
  • Legal rights of a dog bite victim
  • Legal rights of a rescuer
  • Should parents get a lawyer for their injured child?
  • The “one bite rule”
  • Bodily and emotional injuries
  • Free surgery for children disfigured by dogs
  • How injuries are given dollar values
  • Structured settlements
  • Injuries in dog parks
  • Electric fences
  • Landlords’ rights and liabilities
  • Homeowner Associations’ liability for dog bites
  • Humane society as a defendant
  • Police dogs and civil rights
  • Beware of the “statute of limitations”
  • Dangerous and vicious dogs
  • Criminal penalties for a dog bite
Contact Rhode Island Dog Attack Victim Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz for a free consultation

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. Also, the Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

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