Dog Bite Attorney in Bend Oregon
Dogs are treated as ‘part of the family’ in over 60 million households in the United States. However, domesticated dogs can sometimes become a liability for the owners if they bite or otherwise injure other people or animals.
Lately, there has been an increase in the costs of liability claims and treatments related to dog bite injuries. In 2015, Oregon home insurers spent $4.6 million to settle 195 dog bite claims.
Dog Bite Law in Oregon
According to Oregon’s dog bite law, an owner will be liable if their dog is a ‘potentially dangerous dog’ which refers to any domestic dog that does the following:
- Injures a person physically
- Causes menace to a person (when the dog is outside the owner’s property)
- Injures or kills another domestic animal (when the dog is outside of owner’s property)
A dog can escape the label of a ‘potentially dangerous dog’ if it has been provoked. The owner of a ‘potentially dangerous dog’ is liable for all the injuries and damages the dog may cause.
"For over 52 years I have been protecting the financial future of personal injury victim's in Oregon by fighting for maximum compensation in every case." - Roy Dwyer
Injured in a Dog Bite Accident? Get a Free Case Evaluation Today!
Injured in an Accident? Get a Free Case Evaluation Today!
Oregon's ‘One Bite’ Rule
Most US states hold owners liable for dog bites, even if there is no prior evidence suggesting their dog to be a potentially dangerous animal. This is known as the ‘strict liability’ rule.
However, Oregon follows a ‘one bite’ rule or negligence rule.
In Bend, OR, an owner cannot be held liable for dog bites or injuries to another person, if the owner did not know, nor had reason to know, that their dog might act aggressively.
The owner, is however, considered ‘on notice’ after the first injury or bite has occurred, and the owner may be held liable for successive injuries.
This one bite law in Oregon applies to both dog bites and any other kind of injury that may be caused by a domestic dog. For instance, if a large dog knocks over a pedestrian on the sidewalk, the same rules that apply to dog bites shall apply to the dog owner in this case.
Potential Defenses in Dog Bite Claims
A dog owner in Bend, OR facing a dog bite lawsuit may raise one of the following defenses:
- Lack of prior knowledge
Many owners choose to claim that they did not know and had no reason to believe that their dog was a ‘potentially dangerous’ animal, taking advantage of Oregon’s ‘one bite’ rule.
An owner cannot be held liable under the law for dog bite injuries or any other dog behavior if they had no prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressive nature.
Oregon’s dog bite statues clearly specify that an owner cannot be held liable and their dog cannot be termed as ‘potentially dangerous’ if any injuries occur because the dog was provoked. The injured person will have the responsibility to bear the entire costs of such injuries suffered, if they were the ones who provoked the dog.
Oregon dog bite law also specifies that liability may not apply, if at the time of incident, the dog was present on its owner’ property and the injured person was trespassing the property.
What if You Cannot Prove an Owner’s Knowledge or Obligation That the Dog Was ‘Potentially Dangerous’?
Even if a dog bite victim is unable to prove that the owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous nature, they may still pursue a claim for dog owner’s negligence.
Dog owners are still required by the Oregon statute to prevent the animal from causing injuries by exercising reasonable care. The owner can be sued and possible jailed if the owner intentionally allowed the dog to attack a person, or if the owner’s negligence led to a personal injury.
You do not have to prove any previous bites or injuries by the dog, if you are able to show that an owner was negligent and did not exercise reasonable care to prevent the dog bite or dog attack.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
The potential recovery in a Bend, Oregon dog bite lawsuit may include the following:
- Medical expenses, including emergency care, hospitalization, and follow-ups
- Expenses for psychological therapy to treat emotional trauma
- Cost of reconstructive or plastic surgery
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful Death
Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases in Bend, OR
Typically, a dog owner in Oregon is strictly liable for all injuries caused by the dog, only if they were aware or had reason to know of the animal’s dangerous propensities.
Hence, an owner shall be held liable, if after viewing the evidence, a jury reasonably concludes that the dog owner’s had knowledge or had reason to be aware of the dog’s dangerous tendencies.
Ultimately, to find an owner strictly liable for a victim’s dog inflicted injuries, the victim in Bend, Oregon must prove:
- The dog was in possession of the owner
- The dog’s abnormal dangerous propensities according to its breed
- The dog owner was aware or had reason to know about these abnormally dangerous propensities
- The victim’s injuries were as a result of these abnormally dangerous propensities
The dog owner is liable, if the victim proves each one of these elements successfully, even if the dog owner exercised the utmost care to prevent the dog from inflicting any injuries.
Negligence in Dog Bite Cases in Bend, OR
A dog owner may still be subject to liability for harm caused by the animal, even if they did not know or had reason to know that their animal is abnormally dangerous. However, this will be applicable only if:
- they are negligent in preventing the harm
- they intentionally cause the animal to do harm
Certain key questions for the jury in such situations are: whether or not the dog owner exercised ordinary care to prevent the dog from causing harm, and whether the dog owner acted as any other reasonable person would have, in the given situation.
A dog bite victim must prove the following, to ultimately prevail in a negligence-based dog bite claim in Oregon:
- The dog was in the owner’s possession
- If the dog was not controlled or confined, the dog owner had knowledge or should have known, about the dog’s propensities to cause harm to the victim
- The dog owner failed to prevent the dog from causing injury to the victim by not using reasonable care
Statute of Limitations in an Oregon Dog Bite Lawsuit
Oregon’s personal injury statute of limitations sets a time limit for an injured person to file a lawsuit after an injury.
Following a dog bite, the injured person has two years to file a lawsuit with the local branch of Oregon's civil court system. The injured person will most certainly lose the chance to bring the case to court, if the case is not filed within two years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents
Not with Dwyer Williams Cherkoss. We take all truck accident personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means that we only get paid if you get paid. You will not have to pay us any attorney fees until we are able to recover money for you. You will pay only a part of the settlement you are awarded, but nothing from your own pocket.
In most cases, a profound truck accident attorney will be able to negotiate a fair settlement out of court with the defendants. Dwyer Williams Cherkoss will not accept a settlement offer unless we first have your approval. We will also ensure that the settlement terms that we negotiate are first agreeable to you.
The time required to resolve your case could vary, depending on whether a satisfactory out of court settlement can be reached or whether you choose to take the case to trial.
Each case is different, so you should not rely on any “average” settlement figures that are typical to such cases.
Your case could be unique, and must be evaluated on its individual merit. Generally speaking, settlements in Oregon truck accident personal injury cases could range from thousands of dollars to millions.
You should know that the federal law requires commercial motor vehicles to carry a substantially higher amount of insurance than the private vehicles in Oregon. The attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss will work with a goal to hold those responsible for your 18-wheeler accident injuries accountable for maximum compensation.
The responsible parties could include the at-fault driver, the trucking company, the manufacturer, the components supplier, and the maintenance company. Negligence of any or all of these parties could have contributed to your injuries.
Oregon is a modified comparative negligence state. Under the Oregon personal injury law, you have a right to recover proportionate compensation, even if you are responsible for up to 50 percent for the truck crash.
However, the extent of your fault in causing the accident will proportionately reduce the amount of your compensation award. For example, if the damages are deemed to be $200,000 and you are found to be 30 percent at fault, you would recover a compensation award of $140,000 (70% of the damages).
If the law determines that you were at fault to the extent of 51 percent or more, you will not recover anything in Oregon.
Contact an Genuine Dog Bite Lawyer in Bend, Oregon
The team of experienced attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss has successfully handled numerous claims on behalf of dog bite victims, either through litigation or negotiations with the owner’s insurance company.
Our lawyers have deep knowledge of the Oregon statutes that are instituted to protect the rights of dog bite victims. To learn more about your legal options, if you or your loved ones have been bitten by a dog in Bend, Oregon, call us at 1-800-285-8678 today.