The “One Bite” Rule and Dog Bite Injury Liability or “Strict Liability” for Dog Bite Injuries
As the warmer weather is in our future, most of us will be spending more time outside! Chances are, we will meet a few new people once we venture outdoors.
I know in our neighborhood, we will also meet some dogs! This got me thinking about these dog meetings.
Prior to the 20th century, a dog owner was usually only held liable for injuries when their dog bit someone, if the owner had reason to know the dog might bite. This was known as the “one bite” rule, because it generally meant that a dog was allowed “one free bite” before the owner would face legal trouble.
However, the State of Massachusetts has enacted a “dog bite” statute, that creates a form of “strict liability” for dog bites. Strict liability means that the defendant is held liable if a certain event occurs, regardless of whether the defendant could have done anything to prevent the event.
Was does this mean for dog owners? We suggest dog owners check in with us about their liability coverage which can be provided on home, apartment and umbrella policies.
No one ever thinks their lovely canine will be the biter, but it is worth a quick liability check for your own protection!
Enjoy that warm weather and all those cute dogs out there!