Dog Bites

Dog bites are a public health hazard that unfortunately occurs with too much frequency.  Dog attacks are frightening, disturbing, and often result in very serious scarring and permanent injuries.  It is imperative that you hire an experienced Rhode Island dog bite attorney to handle your case.  Animal attacks occur more often than you may think.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that:

  • 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year
  • Approximately 900,000 people per year require medical attention following a dog bite
  • In one recent year, over 30,000 people required reconstructive surgery following a dog bite
  • Children, particularly aged 5 to 9, are more likely to be attacked by dogs than are adults

More than half of all dog attacks occur in the home and are caused by the pet of a family member or friend. In addition, those visiting the house, such as postal workers or repairmen have an increased likelihood of being attacked by a dog.

Owners of animals, especially if dangerous or aggressive, are required to ensure that the animal is safely contained and away from the public where it might cause harm. In addition, the laws of Rhode Island declare it a public nuisance for a person to harbor a vicious dog. As a result, owners of vicious animals in Rhode Island may be held responsible for damages even if it was not their fault that the dog became loose.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court stated "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.  Strict liability means that the dog owner is responsible regardless of the circumstances.

Injuries from dog bites can range from the minor (i.e. bruises, minor cuts) to the extremely serious (i.e. fractures, loss of limb, or even wrongful death). Also, the threat of rabies is always present following a dog bite and you must receive immediate medical attention for a rabies vaccine, if necessary.

If the owner of the animal owns a home, liability for dog bites will often be covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.

Recoverable damages include: pain and suffering, loss of wages, medical bills, plastic surgery (if necessary), scarring, emotional suffering, etc.

If you have been the victim of a dog bite, contact our office for a free consultation.

See Also:

When is a Dog Owner Responsible for a Dog Bite?