Oregon Dog Bite Attorney
Dog Bite Injuries
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it’s important to contact an attorney immediately to learn more about your legal options. In addition to dog bite lawsuits, our attorneys are experienced in other practice areas, including medical malpractice, car accidents, and more. Fill out our free, no obligation case review form today to learn how our attorneys may be able to help.
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!
We Represent Oregon Dog Bite Victims
Dogs can be loving companions that bring you companionship and happiness. Nevertheless, dogs are animals whose basic instincts are wild. Even seemingly docile dogs can occasionally behave in unexpected ways and sometimes man’s best friend will attack, bite, or maul innocent passersby. Throughout the United States, approximately 100,000 hospital visits are made by dog attack victims every year, and an astonishing 5 million U.S. men, women, and children are attacked or bitten by dogs during the same time period. Young children are the most common victims of dangerous dog attacks and fatal dog maulings, in large part because dogs see them as playmates rather than masters and also because children move so erratically, thus dogs equate them with prey. Children are especially vulnerable to severe injury as a result of dog attacks and bites precisely because of their small size and because their less-than-fully developed bones and muscles are weak. If you, your child, or someone who you know has been the victim of a dog attack or bite and has sustained serious injuries or wrongful death as a result, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC can help you obtain just compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Oregon’s “One Bite Rule”
Many Oregonians have the misconception that a dog owner is only liable to a dog bite victim if the dog has previously bitten someone. This is sometime referred to as the “scienter” requirement, or - incorrectly - as Oregon’s “One Bite Rule”. Yet that definition is an oversimplification of our state’s One Bite Rule. What that law really states is that dog owners may be subject to strict liability if they had reason to know of the vicious tendencies of their dogs prior to those dogs attacking or biting victims who bring suit. Dogs need not have bitten anyone in the past to post a generally known threat. It may be sufficient to establish that a dog owner should have known of his or her dog’s vicious nature if a neighbor has indicated that the dog has a history of lunging at passersby or and otherwise trying to attack people who approach it. If a dog acts vicious, regardless of the manner in which that aggression took shape, then the dog’s owner is considered to have had constructive knowledge of the dog’s viciousness and is strictly liable for injuries inflicted by the dog. Strict liability based on the One Bite Rule means that a dog owner with knowledge of a dog’s aggressive tendencies is liable regardless of how careful the owner is to prevent injuries to others. In other words, a dog owner with knowledge of a dog’s vicious tendencies may be liable for any injuries caused by the dog, regardless of the owner’s fault.
Leash Law and Running-At-Large Ordinance Compliance
Even if an owner has no knowledge of any vicious tendencies of his or her dog, the owner may still be liable if the dog attack or bite results from the owner’s negligent care for or eye on the attacking dog. Negligence is “the failure to take ordinary care to prevent accident or injury to others”, but may also be based on a violation of statute law designed to safeguard potential victims. The most common basis for claims of dog bite negligence in Oregon is dog owners’ failure to comply with leash laws and running-at-large ordinances.
Potential Defenses in Dog Bite Claims
A dog owner in Oregon 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 an 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
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 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
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.
Dog Attacks are Unique And They Need to Be Litigated That Way
Proper application of the One Bite Rule in dog attack, bite, or mauling cases requires an experienced Oregon dog bite lawyer to investigate the specific circumstances of an attack to determine whether or not a dog has an evidenced history of aggression. This may be evidenced by such things as the owner telling people that the dog bites, the owner aggressively restraining the dog or holding it back when people visit, the dog lunging or growling at strangers, etc. Dog attack cases are very fact specific so it is important to work with an experienced Oregon dog bite law firm like Dwyer Williams Cherkoss, PC.
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.
Experienced Oregon Dog Bite Attorneys Can Litigate Your Claim
Dog attacks can result in permanent disfigurement, broken bones, damaged muscles and nerves, internal organ damage, and even wrongful death. The accident or personal injury law firm of Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys, PC has recovered tens of millions of dollars for our dog attack and dog bite clients. We are dedicated to providing compassionate but aggressive representation of dog attack victims throughout Oregon. We will carefully investigate your dog attack case so that we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, loss of services and companionship of a spouse, and other appropriate damages. If you have been injured from a dog attack, we urge you to call us today at 1-800-285-8678.