Animal bite laws are created at the state level and therefore vary across the U.S. They often help determine liability when someone is bitten by a domestic animal.
Depending upon the circumstance, liability may extend beyond the animal’s owner to a kennel; a pound or animal shelter; property owners, when animals are off-leash or allowed to stray; landlords, when they’re aware of a tenants who owns a dangerous animal; and even parents of minors who own an animal that bites.
In some cases, the owner’s liability is dependent upon whether or not they were aware of the animal’s propensity for aggression.
If it can be demonstrated that the owner was aware of the potential danger that the animal presents, chances are the owner may be liable for damages when the animal actually hurts someone.
On the other hand, when an animal’s owner adequately warns others of potential dangers and took proper precautions to keep the animal away from others, proving liability or contributory negligence may be difficult for a bite victim.
Similarly, if the victim intentionally provoked or incited the animal to bite, the owner may not be liable for damages.
Damages typically sought in animal bite claims include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damages.
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