According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every single year. This is a serious problem that often goes overlooked in lieu of other personal injury accidents. Despite how harmless a dog bite may seem, victims often experience severe emotional and physical trauma that can last for years.
Dog bite injuries can also be confusing. Is the dog's owner responsible, or does the victim share in some of the accountability? The answer to this question can be found in Rhode Island's liability laws on the subject.
Understanding the State's Dog Bite Law
Dog bite injuries can manifest themselves in a number of different ways, including bruises, bone fractures, scarring, and permanent disfigurement. While it is uncommon, rabies is also a risk for victims in certain situations. Medical bills can add up and compensation is often sought in the weeks following the incident.
Because personal injury compensation is based on negligence, Rhode Island has established specific laws which govern a dog bite injury. The state currently imposes "strict liability" on the owners of dogs who inflict injury on others. This means that the owner is responsible in most cases of a dog bite injury.
A victim can hold the dog's owner responsible if:
- The dog "assaults, bites, or injures" the person or an animal belonging to that person and
- The person or injured animal is not on the dog owner's property when the incident occurs
That second piece of criteria is especially important, because if the dog bite does not occur on the owner's property, the victim may be considered at fault for the accident and unable to recover compensation.
All victims must file their dog bite injury claim within three years of when the injury occurred. If the claim is filed at any point after the three years, it may be throw out by the court. This is why it is imperative that you consult with a Providence personal injury lawyer from our firm right away. We have over 25 years of experience and may be able to provide the legal representation you need! Get in touch with us today.