What Evidence Can be Used to Prove Negligence in a Dog Bite Case?
Many states follow the principle of “strict liability” in relation to dog bite claims. Under strict liability laws, a person who is attacked by a dog may not even need to prove negligence on the behalf of the owner. As long as the injury victim did not provoke the dog, owners are usually found liable.
In Texas and New Mexico, dog bite cases may be subject to the “one bite” rule, which essentially limits strict liability to dogs who have a history of aggression. If the dog has bitten someone before, the standard strict liability laws should apply. If the dog has not bitten someone before, a victim may need to prove the negligence of the owner in order to recover compensation.
The evidence that is needed to prove negligence in a dog bite case will vary depending on the situation. A plaintiff will need to provide examples of how the owner’s oversight resulted in the dog lashing out and attacking them.
If a Dog was Off the Leash
A dog bite victim may be able to prove the owner was negligent if the dog was not on a leash when it attacked. Many states have laws in place that require dogs to be leashed when they are out in public, but even in states where off-leash dogs are legally permitted, choosing to keep a dog off of their leash can be evidence of fault if the dog bites someone. An owner can also be liable if an attack happens because the dog is not fenced in their yard.
Unless the attack occurred in a place where surveillance cameras are installed, victims will have to rely on witness accounts to prove that a dog was not on a leash. If nobody else was present during the incident, a plaintiff could have people who know the owner testify if the dog was frequently off-leash.
If a Dog has a History of Aggression
Even if a dog has not bitten anyone in the past, providing proof that a dog has aggressive tendencies can be evidence of an owner’s negligence. Witnesses can testify if a dog frequently growls at people, lunges, chases cars or other animals, or is otherwise untrained.
The experienced lawyers at Ortega, McGlashan, Hicks & Perez, PLLC can help you gather evidence and build a case for recovering compensation after an injury. Call (915) 206-5154 or schedule a free consultation through our website to get in touch with us.