People love dogs, but not every dog is a warm ball of fluff. Some are downright aggressive to anybody but their masters.
In many states, if you’re bitten by an unprovoked dog, the animal’s owner bears full responsibility for your injuries and losses – regardless of whether the dog had ever bitten anybody before. Louisiana, however, adheres to something that is often called the “one-bite rule.”
Victims need to show that the dog’s owner was somehow negligent
In essence, the dog-bite statute in Louisiana says that a dog owner can only be held responsible for their animal’s actions if they were negligent. This means:
- The owner either had actual knowledge that their dog is prone to biting (because it has bitten someone at least once before) or they should have known (based on the dog’s aggressive behavior or past attempts to bite).
- The owner could have prevented the injuries by using reasonable care, such as keeping the dog restrained on a leash, using a muzzle when in public or keeping the dog behind a fence, and failed to do so.
- The dog had already been declared a “dangerous dog” (due to prior attacks) and the owner failed to adhere to the laws by posting appropriate notices and keeping the dog restrained.
It is important to note that owners aren’t responsible for dog bite injuries when the animal was provoked in some way. For example, if someone kicks their neighbor’s dog out of meanness and the dog bites them on the foot, the neighbor wouldn’t be liable for any injuries. That’s something to keep in mind if a dog’s owner tries to paint you as the aggressor in a situation.
Dog bite injuries can be quite serious. Aside from the muscular damage to your hands, arms, legs or other body parts, you can end up with nerve damage, deadly infections and permanent scarring. That makes it particularly important to have experienced legal guidance as you pursue your claim.
Our premises liability lawyers handle cases for clients who have been seriously maimed by an animal or families who have lost a loved one to a dog attack.