One Bite Rule | What happens to you, the dog and the victim (2023)

Caring for a pet can sometimes be a complicated task. Not all animals behave in the same way and some of them are likely to actinstinctbut how they were raised. However, caring for an animal is not just about raising it. This also includes food, health and extra costs. Some people do not like having pets in their home because it may involve large amounts of money that they cannot afford.

One of the expenses that some owners don't count on is when they cause their petsharmanother. For example, if someone's dog bites another person or their pet, causing them serious injury, they may have to pay the victim's costs. Because of this, many states in the US have dictated certain laws that determine whether a dog owner can be held responsible for their behavior. These legal terms are known as the "One Bite Rule", "First Bite Rule" or "One Bite No Bite Rule".

The one-bite rule can apply to any animal owner, so it's important to know how fault is attributed after an animal attacks someone else. This article will go over the basics of the one-bite rule, how fouls are awarded and whatlegal proceduresit may be after an animal attack.

One Bite Rule | What happens to you, the dog and the victim (1)

What is the one bite rule?

The one-bite rule is a legal doctrine that can determine whether a pet owner can be detainedlegally responsiblefor any damage the animal may have caused. This applies to pets such as cats, dogs, etc. According to this rule, the owner of the animal can be held responsible for the actions of his dog if:

  • It has been proven that a dog can do any harm to another.

  • It is proven that the owner previously knew about his dog's dangerous behavior.

  • The dog's behavior caused harm to someone else.

This legal term takes its name from earlier pet laws. Back then, a dog owner could only be held responsible for their pet's behavior if they had prior knowledge of its violent tendencies. This meant the dog could get a free bite before being held accountable for its actions.

Currently, this "one free bite" exception does not always apply. If the owner knew that a particular breed had violent tendencies, or if the dog was prone to causing injury to someone else, they could be held strictly liable for the injuries caused, even if it was the dog's first bite.

However, the fact that they are called "dog bite laws" does not necessarily mean that the damage is limited to a dog bite. Any type of damage a dog causes to another person, their property, or a pet can be considered part of the one bite rule.

The one-bite rule is part of three liability theories for animal attacks. Some states have a different approach to determining liability for dog bites, but they essentially work on the same principle. Here are two other theories of liability:

  • Strict liability: Under the rule of strict liability, the owner of the dog can be held liable for injuries caused in the event of an attack on the victim where permitted by law. For example, if the victim was attacked in a public park, the owner of the dog may be liable for the injuries.

  • Negligence: When the one-bite rule or strict liability principle does not apply in a particular personal injury case, the victim may file a claim if they believe the dog owner's negligence caused the injury.

What if a dog bites someone on the owner's property?

This is a common concern when dealing with dog bite cases. There are many consequences if a dog bites another on the owner's private property. According to Premises Liability, the home owner must have an expertstandard of careto any person who enters their possession. In other words, the homeowner should provide a safe environment for anyone entering. This standard of care includes keeping a violent animal away from visitors.

With that in mind, these are the most common bite situations a dog owner may find themselves in:


Depending on the state, trespassers may or may not be able to file a claim with a law firm if they are injured while trespassing on a dog owner's property. Trespassing involves people attempting to unlawfully enter private property (i.e. cases of burglary).

Guest house

In these cases, dog owners must provide their guests with a safe environment. If their dog has violent tendencies, they must either restrain it or warn the visitor about its dangerous behavior. In some states, the victim can sue the owner of the dog if they can prove that the owner was negligent in exercising sufficient care to prevent the dog from biting.

Previous dangerous behavior

If the owner has a dog that has injured someone else in the past, that dog may be considered dangerous under the law. This means that if the dog has already bitten someone and then bites someone again on the owner's private property, the owner can be held vicariously liable for the resulting damage.

Regardless of the case, the best way to avoid these personal injury scenarios is to warn people in advance of the dog's behavior or post a warning sign on the property indicating that a dangerous dog is present.

How do strict liability dog ​​bite laws work?

The one bite rule and strict liability principles are two of the most common cases when it comes to dog bites. The main difference between the two is that under the one-bite rule, the owner can be held liable for damages if the victim can prove that the owner had no prior knowledge of the dog's violent tendencies, or if a particular breed of dog is naturally violent. On the other hand, strict liability means that the owner is responsible for the injuries caused regardless of what he could have done to prevent them.

The two main situations in which an owner can be held legally responsible for the actions of their dog are as follows:

  • The victim is legally allowed to be where the assault occurred.

  • The victim did nothing to provoke the animal.

If either of these two principles apply to the case, the owner will be held strictly liable for the dog's bite, meaning that it does not matter whether the owner had prior knowledge of their dog's behavior or did anything to prevent it. attack. However, these strict liability bite cases do not apply in every state and every state has a different approach to it.

Strict liability bite cases are generally considered to be "easier to win“Since it is easier for a law firm to prepare an injury case and prove the fault of the owner.

One Bite Rule | What happens to you, the dog and the victim (2)

What happens to a dog after it bites someone?

As in all the above cases,what happens after a dog bitemay vary by country. However, as a general rule, a dog bite is usually treated as a civil matter, meaning that there are no fatal consequences in most bite cases. For example, if a person is bitten by a dog, that dog should be quarantined for at least 10 days. This is because in most cases dog bites come from an uncontrolled rabies problem.

When a dog is quarantined, experts must assess whether the animal is showing signs or symptoms of rabies. If the owner can prove that the dog is licensed and vaccinated, this can help them get out of quarantine faster. However, if the animal has caused serious harm to the victim, animal welfare officials may classify it as "potentially vicious." If the dog has no previous violent incidents and shows good behavior during the day, the tag can be removed after a few months.

In severe cases, the dog may be marked "i force,” meaning the court could order the dog to be put down or placed under strict quarantine with liability insurance paid. The dog could also be put down or in strict quarantine if it was not vaccinated before the event.

While the surrender of a dog due to physical injury is a rare occurrence. Most bite cases end with the dog being kept in strict quarantine for some time until the victim is free of injury or infection.

Preventing dog bites can be complicated because it's hard to tell if an animal will become unexpectedly violent. However, there are some steps an owner can take to avoid as many instances of injury as possible. You can read these measures below:

  • Keep the animal vaccinated: As previously mentioned, some personal injury cases associated with dog bites can be caused by rabies. It is important that the dog is up to date with all its informationvaccines.

  • Watch the animal: If someone takes a dog for a walk, it is better to keep it on a leash so that it does not run off and attack other people. The states of Michigan and Pennsylvania have laws that require every dog ​​owner to walk their dog on a leash or some form of restraint. This law is commonly referred to as "belt law." Other states may require dogs to be on a leash in certain places or at certain times. Regardless, it's always best to keep the dog under control, especially if it's a large or dangerous animal.

  • Supervise the children: While teenagers and adults may know when to stay away from a dangerous dog, children may not. In these cases, it is important that the owner pays attention to children in the area to prevent the dog from attacking them.

  • Study the signs of aggression in animals: If the dog shows signs of aggression, such as barking, growling or growling at someone else, the owner should find a trainer who can help them assess the situation in the best possible way.

  • Research your state's dog bite laws: Each state has different laws regarding dog bites and strict liability situations. The owner should be aware of their state's laws so they know what to do if their animal injures someone else.

  • Behave responsibly: A dog bite is unpleasant for all parties involved, so if a dog bite does occur, it is vital that the owner remains calm and provides as much assistance as possible to the victim, even if they are held responsible. This way, the victim can more easily resolve their personal injury case or even avoid filing a lawsuit altogether.

Is California a "one bite rule" state?

Each state may handle dog bite and personal injury cases differently. Although the law of a particular state may be somewhat similar to that of other states, it is important to know the details in the event of a dog bite incident. Knowing the difference can help you determine more quickly if the landlord is liable for damages.

In general, there are more states that operate under a "strict liability" law than a "one-bite rule" law. The state of California is not a "one-bite state" because it only operates under a "strict liability" law, meaning that if a dog bite incident occurs and the victim did not cause the animal or was lawfully at the scene of the incident, the owner is automatically responsible for all damages caused.

When applicable, California state law uses Cal. Civ. Code § 3342, which states:

``(a) The owner of any dog ​​shall be liable for damages suffered by any person bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the dog's prior malice or knowledge of the owner of this evil.”

However, in some cases there may be an exception to California's strict liability law. The one bite rule can become a determining factor in negligence in certain special cases. For example, the one-bite rule can help the victim show that the keeper did not properly leash the dog, which can further strengthen the victim's injury case.

Under California law, there are other exceptions where the one-bite rule can help decide whether owners can be held liable for their dog's actions. You can read about these exceptions below:

  • The victim entered private property.

  • Dog owners or keepers are not responsible.

  • The animal was a law enforcement service animal.

  • The victim knew about the dog's violent behavior and/or assumed the risk of being bitten. (ie read the warning sign first, become a vet, etc.)

  • The victim is partially responsible for their injury.

If any of these scenarios occur, the victim cannot hold the owner strictly liable for the dog bite. Instead, they would have to prove the watchman's negligence.

Under California law, if a dog has a history of biting people or is proven to have been bred to attack people, it can be prosecuted as a threat to public safety. In extreme cases of personal injury, the dog may be removed from its handler and/or put down.

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Which countries apply the one-bite rule?

There are currently 16 states in the US that follow the one-bite rule. The remaining states usually follow strict liability law, but also use the one-bite rule whenever strict liability law does not apply.

States that follow the one-bite rule can be found below:

  • Arkansas

  • Kansas

  • Mississippi

  • New Mexico

  • North Dakota

  • South Dakota

  • Vermont

  • Wyoming

  • Idaho

  • Maryland

  • Alaska

  • Virginia

  • Texas

  • New York

  • Oregon

  • Nevada

How to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit

Whether a victim lives in a "One Bite Rule" state or a "Strict Liability" state, they can choose to file a lawsuit if they choose. It is important to identify two important factors before filing a lawsuit:CompensationIevidence.

Calculating damages refers to making a list of all the costs that may result from an injury. Regardless of whether it was one bite or more, it's important to write everything down. The cost includes:

  • Unexpected medical bills

  • Lost wages

  • Recovery accounts

  • Accounts for temporary or permanent disability

  • Pain and suffering

On the other hand, gathering evidence is the second most important part of making a successful claim. Evidence can be:

  • Pictures or videos of the injuries and the scene

  • Witness or police reports

  • Medical bills

The next step would be to hire onedog bite lawyer. It is safer to have someone experienced handle the case to ensure you are adequately compensated for the damage caused.


The one-bite rule can certainly help determine whether a person can be held responsible for their dog's actions. However, it is important to note that not every state follows the one bite rule as the primary remedy, but in those cases it can still be used to proveHe does not like it, which helps the victim's treatment.

Disclaimer: The details contained in this blog are offered for educational purposes only and should in no way be considered legal guidance. No recipient of material from this blog, clients or otherwise, should or should not act upon any material contained in the blog without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances involved from an attorney licensed in their state recipient.

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