Call Us - We're Easy to Talk To (214) 999-9999

Dog Bites: Understanding the Legal Effects of Being Injured by Man’s Best Friend

An overwhelming majority of the states have dog bite statutes that place strict liability on the owner of a dog that makes an unprovoked attack on somebody else. Some states have no dog bite statute, so it’s necessary to prove a violation of the “one free bite rule,” negligence by the owner of the dog, or a violation of a local ordinance.

The one free bite rule

Some states are “one free bite” states. In these states advises that if a dog bites somebody one time, the owner can escape liability because he or she didn’t know of the dog’s propensity to bite. If the owner knows about that one bite though, he or she has to use due care and caution to prevent that dog from biting somebody again. The owner can be held liable for the second bite.

Dangerous dog and vicious dog statutes

Some counties or municipalities are in states that don’t have a specific dog bite liability statute, but the county or municipality might have a dangerous dog statute. They declare a dog to be legally dangerous if people have had to defend themselves from it when it’s running at large. Some statutes classify a dog as being vicious if it injures or kills a person without any provocation. These localities forbid possession of a vicious dog.

Negligence per se

Depending on what county or municipality you’re in, also advises there might be a dog ordinance in place that makes a dog owner liable for damage caused by a violation of an ordinance. A common example of negligence per se in the case of a dog bite is when there’s a leash law, and the dog’s owner allows a dog to run at large. If the dog bites somebody or somehow causes an accident, the dog’s owner can be held liable for damages. Some counties and municipalities even have strict liability dog bite ordinance.


Damages in a dog attack case can include but not be limited to:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of a normal life
  • Punitive damages

A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to prove liability in dog bite cases. Dog attacks need to be reported to authorities immediately. Your next call after that should be to a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney. Dogs are animals, and they require care. People who are injured by dogs with careless owners deserve fair compensation.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her four-year-old husky Snowball.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

If you find this type of information interesting or helpful, please visit my law firm's main website at You will find many more articles and links. Thank you for your time.

Find us on your preferred network