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Three Questions Your Dog Bite Attorney Will Want to Ask You

Numerous dog bite statutes across the United States impose strict liability on dog owners whose canine companions attack or bite another person. This means that, in most cases, a dog owner will be responsible for paying for the injuries the owner’s dog causes to another person even if the owner took reasonable precautions to contain the dog. This is even the case if the dog had never previously attacked or bit someone. This does not mean that dog bite victims have an easy path to recovery, however. Pursuant to the Rhode Island statutory scheme, there are different laws for dogs who cause injuries outside of an enclosure and dogs who injure third parties within their enclosure.

RI Law-dog bites outside an enclosure

The RI Supreme Court sitting in the Capital City Of Providence stated “Strict liability attaches for any injury occurring outside the dog’s enclosure.” “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).
see also: § 4-13-16 Action for damages to animals – Double damages on second recovery – Destruction of offending dog.

Rhode Island Laws for dog attacks within an enclosure

RI follows the common law, widely adopted across the United States that ‘every dog gets one free bite’ if the dog caused animal occurs with a dog’s enclosure. This means that Rhode Island and Providence Plantations does not have strict liability for animal caused injuries within an enclosure. “If injuries are suffered within an owner’s enclosed area, the strict-liability statute does not apply, but rather the common law continues to apply and dictates that the plaintiff first must prove that the defendant knew about the dog’s vicious propensities, a scienter requirement commonly referred to as the “one-bite rule.” See Montiero, 813 A.2d at 981. Barry E. DuBOIS et al. v Frederick QUILITZSCH et al, 21 A.3d 375 (2011)

Questions from Your Dog Bite Lawyer in Rhode Island

It is advisable that you seek assistance from an experienced dog bite lawyer in RI to help you in pursuing a claim for damages. When you first meet with your Rhode Island personal injury attorney, he or she will want to ask you:

• Who owns the dog? Why will your Providence negligence attorney ask you this? Because if there is no identifiable owner for the dog, there is no one to file a dog bite lawsuit against and hold responsible. Strict liability or any negligence liability can usually only be imposed against a dog’s owner.
• Where were you when the bite happened?
• What were you doing when the bite happened? Negligence liability on behalf of the dog owner may not be applicable in situations where you “provoke” the dog. If you are teasing, taunting, or rough playing with the dog and it bites you in response, a negligence liability dog bite lawsuit may not be available to you.

Why You Need to Retain a RI dog bite attorney, quickly

Meet with a dog bite attorney in Providence as soon as possible after a dog bite attack. The sooner you retain experienced counsel, the sooner he or she can investigate your case and determine your precise legal rights. Even where a strict liability dog bite lawsuit is not available to you, you may still be able to recover compensation through a negligence-based lawsuit.

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