In Oregon, the rule is that an owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog if he/she knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous. This is often referred to as the “one free bite” rule—essentially, an owner is not responsible unless the dog has harmed someone in the past (though, there may be other ways to show that the dog was dangerous). Strict liability means that the owner is responsible to pay for damages even if he wasn’t at fault. If the dog somehow escapes his muzzle, cage and backyard, the owner is still responsible.
This is why getting information about the dog’s owner is extremely important. You may know the owner’s identity because of information from the dog’s collar, because the owner spoke to you, or because you saw where the dog came from. It may be necessary for you or your lawyer to contact local law enforcement and animal control.
Once we know the owner, we can determine whether there is any insurance. Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance is often available to pay for injuries caused by a vicious dog. In some situations, a landlord or home owner may also be responsible. Otherwise, your only recovery may be through the personal assets of the owner, which can be difficult to collect.
Injuries from dog bites and attacks can range from mild to horrific. These are some of the most difficult situations we handle, particularly where children are involved. Even worse, the lack of insurance means that some victims never recover for their injuries. For that reason, it can be important to find whether others, including landlords and property owners, might be liable for a dog’s vicious nature. We know Oregon’s laws on dog bites, and we can help you to determine whether you can make a claim for a dog attack. Contact us at 1-541-617-0555, or fill out our internet Contact form on the right side of the page. For more information visit our main Dog Attack Injury webpage