Description of the rule
The one-bite rule states that the owner, dock worker or keeper of any domestic animal (dog, cat or any other domestic animal) will be legally responsible for the harm caused by the animal if it is proven that (a) the animal had a tendency to does something harmful that is unusual for the category of animal (such as biting people, scratching or knocking down), (b) the owner, dock worker or keeper of the animal knew of this tendency, ordangerous trendbefore the incident in question, and (c) the animal's propensity to act noxiously caused injury to person or property in the incident in question.
The Restatement (Second) of Torts, section 509, states the one-bite rule as follows:
§ 509. Damage by unusually dangerous domestic animals.
Except as provided in § 517, the owner of a domestic animal which he has reason to know has dangerous propensities unusual for its class, is liable for damages caused to others, except those who enter upon his land, although he has used every measure possible to see that you do no harm.
The Restatement cited above uses the phrase "has reason to know." Its meaning is explained in Restatement (Second) of Torts § 12 (1965):
§ 12. Reason of knowledge. You should know
(1) The words "reason to know" are used throughout this Case Review to denote the fact that the actor has information from which a person of reasonable intelligence or superior intelligence than the actor would infer that the fact in question exists , or that such a person would manage his behavior on the assumption that such an event exists.
(2) The words "should have known" are used throughout the review of this case to denote the fact that a person of reasonable prudence and intelligence or superior intelligence of the actor would have ascertained the fact in question in the exercise of his duty other , or would govern his conduct on the assumption that such a fact exists.
How the rule applies to dog bite legislation in general
The one-bite rule is one of several methods of determining a defendant's liability in a dog bite case. Other methods include negligence and negligence per se, as stated inLegal Rights of Dog Bite Victims in the USA. In some cases, victims have even based their claims on less common causes of action, such as harassment, injury, assault, and intentional torts.
The one bite rule applies the first time a dog attacks a human. In such a case, the most important legal question is the extent to which the relevant state complies with English common law in relation to injuries caused by domestic animals. The common law protected the owner of a domestic animal from civil liability until the first victim of each of his animals. This release principle has become known as the "one-bite rule," the "first-bite rule," or the "first-bite-no-rule."
The one-bite rule is based on civil and criminal procedures in modern America and applies in every state and the District of Columbia. A minority of US states (refer toLegal Rights of Dog Bite Victims in the USA) use the one-bite rule to determine legal liability. Most states and the District of Columbia have enacted "dog bite laws" that modify the one-bite rule in some cases. (A list of these countries is also availableLegal Rights of Dog Bite Victims in the USA.) Criminal laws applicable to dog owners, keepers and shelters are generally based on the one-bite principle, according to which criminal liability does not usually arise from dog attacks unless the dog has previously behaved similarly.
It should be noted that the one bite rule applies to cases involving any pet and any type of injury (such as trip or trip and fall). For example, an owner's liability for injuries caused by their cat will be determined under the one-bite rule. In the absence of a strict liability law or ordinance in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, the real question would be whether the cat knew to its owner, shelter or keeper that it was causing injury to people or property in a particular way. If so, and if the cat did it that way again, then that person will be liable under the one-bite rule.
The reasoning behind the rule
The rationale behind the one-bite rule was that domestic animals are by definition not harmful and therefore liability can only be based on the defendant's knowledge that a particular animal has a propensity to behave in a manner harmful to humans. Again, the rule applies to any type of injury, bite or not.
The rule provided not only a shield for the owner of the animal, but also a sword for its victim, as it justified compensation to each victim -- after the first -- injured by the samedangerous trendprovided that the owner, keeper or foster dog knew or should have known. The cause of action was based on the defendantconsciously(ie knowledge) of the dangerousness of his dog. For this reason, this cause of action is referred to as a "scientific cause of action" or "strict liability at common law." Since the essence of the tort is "the keeping of a thing known to be dangerous, one who keeps or harbors an animal belonging to another may be liable, if he has such knowledge." Prosser or Torts, Chapter 10, Section 57, Page 441.
Restatement (Third) Torts, section 23, comment (b), provides a rationale for holding dog owners strictly liable for keeping vicious dogs:
Ownership of animals such as dogs and cats is widespread among the public. Therefore, the limited risks to ordinary dogs and cats are largely reciprocal. Accordingly, the arguments for strict liability for bodily injuries that any such common animal may cause are weak. However, although animals in such categories generally involve only a moderate level of risk, some animals may pose a significant and unusual risk... Even if ... keeping [such an animal] is in itself right, an unusually dangerous animal is by definition unusual; Owning such an animal is an activity of the few that poses a significant risk to others within the community. Under these circumstances, strict liability is fair.
No actual bite required
Court decisions have repeatedly stated that the term "one-bite rule" is a misnomer and that the rule applies to any injury, whether caused by a bite or not, and that in the case of a dog bite, proof of a dangerous propensity does not require prior evidence of biting a person, but simply behavior that should have alerted the owner, keeper, or dock that the dog intended to bite the person.
“There may be circumstances, other than the actual bite, sufficient to give the owner of the dog reason to be aware of the dog's dangerous propensity. for example, a dog, without provocation, may trip over a person who is apparently trying to bite, but fails in the attempt when the person successfully retreats” (Restatement (Tuesday) of Torts: Phys. & Emot. Harm, section 23 , comment ( c ), "Scientist.").
“It is not considered that the dog is necessarily entitled to a bite. It is enough for the owner of the animal to know that it has on other occasions shown such a tendency to attack people. . . which should inform him of his dangerous character. Thus, the fact that according to his knowledge the dog unsuccessfully tried to attack human beings. . . it is sufficient [to show scienter]." (Restatement (Second) of Torts, section 509, comment (g).)
Therefore, as far as dogs are concerned, the test in a dog bite case is whether the dog has previously shown a desire to bite a person (ie vicious temperament). (See, i.e.Steagald i sur. v. Easonet al. (2017) __ GA __ : “Bite attempt
Absence of provocation can certainly be evidence of a propensity to bite without provocation.") In the case of "knockdown," the test would be whether the dog played too loudly (dangerous behavior).
The importance of rules in states that have dog bite laws
The one bite rule is important even in states that have a dog bite law because the text of the law may not apply to any particular dog bite case.
Dog bite laws are worded differently across the country. They may or may not apply to keepers and shelters, as well as owners, and injuries by means other than bites. They may provide full compensation or payment of medical bills only, or payment of medical bills and other financial losses (such as loss of income), or double compensation under certain circumstances. Some don't apply during the day or if the dog's owner posted a "bad dog sign" or if the victim challenged the dog weeks before. Although formulated as strict liability statutes, in addition, court decisions allow for a variety of defenses that vary from state to state.
For this reason, it is important to keep in mind that even if the dog bite statute does not apply to a specific defendant or does not provide adequate compensation, the victim may seek a scientiﬁc cause of action, as it is always available in any situation, and in almost every situation it can also point to causes of action such as negligence and negligenceas well as half.
A scientific cause of action may be directed not only against the dog's owner, but also against the dog's shelter or keeper:
A person, though not the owner of a vicious dog, may be held liable to others for knowingly keeping or harboring a dog in his possession, after learning of its vicious tendencies, and this is so even when such keeping is without the consent and against the wishes of the owner of the animal. ... The owner of the animal is the person to whom it belongs. Whether or not a person will be a guardian depends on the specific facts and circumstances of each individual case. A man can have an animal and yet not be its keeper. The word "guardian" is equivalent to "a person who gives shelter". Shelter means protection. Therefore, he who treats the dog as if he lives in his own house and undertakes to control its actions, is an owner or keeper within the meaning of the law. but the occasional presence of an animal on his premises, if not so treated, does not make him such an owner or keeper. (3rd C.J.S. 1266, § 165)
Contributory negligence and comparative negligence are not defenses to the scienter cause of action. This is expressed in the Restatement of Torts, Section 515, Subsection (1): "A plaintiff is not barred from recovery if he fails to exercise reasonable care to observe the neighborhood of a wild animal or unusually dangerous domestic animal or to avoid injury to threatened persons, land or his estates.' Comments (a) and (b) to section 515 provide the rationale for this rule:
The owner or keeper of the animal assumes the risk of liability for any damage caused by it while it is out of his control, not only to the prudent and able, but also to those whose care and skill are below the standard expected to man. Therefore, one injured by such an animal that escapes his control with or without the fault of the owner is not barred from recovery because if he had acted normally in a vigilant, skillful and professional manner he could have avoided the injury.
Since the animal owner's strict liability is not based on his own negligence, the plaintiff's ordinary negligence is not a defense to such an action. The reason is the policy of the law, which bears the full responsibility for preventing harm to the defendant. Accordingly, where the plaintiff merely fails to exercise reasonable care to detect the presence of an animal or to take precautions against harm that may result from it, his recovery under strict liability is not barred.
Trespass is not a defense against scientists in all states. Infringement is not a common law defense. (Dog Owners' Liability: Statutory Effects, Duke Law Journal, Vol. 1960, No. 1 (Winter, 1960), pp. 146-149.) The case of Radoff v. Hunter (1958) 158 Cal.App.2d 770 , for example, held that keeping a guard dog in one's possession, without pointing out the dog's presence or warning of its presence, creates liability for all persons injured by the dog, whether such persons are considered invitees, authorizers or trespassers. in Radoff, the plaintiff was an intruder who bit the defendant's guard dog, which he kept on a chain in the parking lot behind the defendant's store. The dog was often unable to see and no sign warned of its presence. Ruling that trespass was not a defense to the scientist's suit, the court stated that "the keeping of a trained guard dog, under conditions in which it was occasionally hidden from view and in which no warning was given of its presence, was akin to maintenance of a castle in which users will be required to obtain permission or intruders could be injured.'