Herron Law Office handles all Personal Injury cases with experience, skill and compassion. In a dog bite cases, our priorities are clear: your health needs to come first, then a fair outcome so you can get back what you had lost.
About Dog Bites
If you have been bitten by a dog in Oregon, there are several laws that could apply to you.
- First, the state of Oregon has a personal injury statute of limitations that sets a time limit for how long you have to file a lawsuit after an injury. When that injury is a dog bite, you have two years to file the lawsuit in the Oregon court system. If the case is not filed in that time, you will probably lose standing to sue for damages.
Dog Bite Law in Oregon
The law here only imposes liability on a dog owner if the animal is a ‘potentially dangerous dog.’ Under law, a ‘potentially dangerous dog’ is one that does any of these:
- Menaces an individual while the dog is not on the property of the owner
- Inflicts physical injury on an individual
- Injures/kills a domestic animal when the dog is not on the property of the owner
In each above scenario, the dog may not be provoked in any way. If the dog has been provoked, it may not legally be a ‘potentially dangerous dog.’ If the ‘potentially dangerous dog’ does injure you or damages your property, the owner of the dog is liable.
The ‘One Bite Rule’ in Oregon
Many states have a strict liability rule for dog bite cases. Owners are liable in these states even if there is not any evidence that the dog is dangerous. Oregon has a ‘one bite’ rule. This means that an owner who does not know or has no reason to know that his dog might act aggressively may not be held liable if the dog bites or injures you.
Once a single bite or injury happens, the owner is thought to be ‘on notice’ that the dog can be dangerous to others. The owner then may be held liable for injuries that happen later. This state’s dog bite law applies to injuries caused by the bite and also other injuries caused by dogs. For example, if you are walking down the sidewalk and you are knocked over by a dog, the owner could be held liable under the same rules as a dog bite.
Common Defenses To Dog Bite Claims
A dog owner in Oregon who faces a dog bite lawsuit will usually raise one of three defenses:
- Lack of prior knowledge
As Oregon is a ‘one bite’ state, some dog owners will probably raise the defense that they had no knowledge that there dog could be dangerous. Without that knowledge, the owner would not be held liable for dog bite injuries. The statutes state that the dog will not be found ‘potentially dangerous’ and an owner may not be held liable if the dog was provoked at all. Laws in this state also stipulate that liability applies only when the dog is not on the owner’s property when the alleged incident occurs. If you are trespassing on the owner’s property, you probably will not be able to sue for your damages.
How to Hold Pet Owners Liable for Dog Bite Injuries
Often a dog bite is caused through the negligence of its owner. Members of society have preconceived notions and hold true to stereotypes about certain breeds of dogs because some are known to be aggressive. Dogs that have reputations of violence and unprovoked attacks would include the pit bull and Rottweiler. This is especially true for pit bulls because that bread is correlated with dog fighting- they also have large and destructive jaws that have been known to cause horrendous damage. Any owner of such a breed has the duty to take extra precautions to protect the public from any risks in coming in contact with this breed. In addition, there are laws requiring all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies.
Children are so often the target of dogs as they are unable to defend themselves and present a fearful target to a dog. Negligence from a dog owner can occur should their dog not be properly secured in an enclosure, if they are wandering loose in a neighborhood or if they are not properly vaccinated. With dog bites cases immediate medical treatment is usually necessary. These types of injuries are slow to heal and can be very painful, with possible permanent scarring.
You can assume that the insurance company may not have the compassion and care you deserve throughout the handling of your dog bite injury.
Did you know that around 1,000 Americans seek treatment in emergency rooms for dog bites injuries every day? In fact, in 2007 there were approximately 33 fatal dog attacks around the United States. Dog bites cause severe and traumatic injuries. The unfortunate truth is that the majority of dog bite victims who seek medical attention are children and about half of them are bit on or near the facial area. Losses due to dog bites surpass $1 billion per year, with over $300 million of that figure paid by homeowners insurance.
With these kinds of statistics, you need Portland personal injury attorney Bartley Herron to proactively preserve your rights. Bog bite injuries can often cause disfiguration and will need careful follow or possible cosmetic surgery to ensure that the victim is fully restored to their old self. The legal team at Herron Law, LLC is here to direct the course of your case to make certain no stone is left unturned in the protection of your rights for any dog bite injury either you or a loved one has sustained.