As the weather gets colder it is more likely that people will quickly let their dogs outside to do their business and watch from the warmth of their porch. With that risk comes a lot of liability. In Rhode Island, if a dog bites someone when the dog is off of the owner’s property, strict liability applies. Strict liability means that the owner is responsible for any injury or damages that the dog causes.

But what if the dog bites you while you are on the owner’s property? Strict liability does not apply; instead, the victim must prove that the owner knew or had reason to know that the dog was dangerous. There are several ways that a victim of a dog bite could prove this. One way to do this is through the “one bite rule”: essentially, if the dog has previously bitten someone the “one bite rule” says that the owner should have known that the dog could bite again.

The attorneys at Kiernan, Plunkett & Redihan, LLP have represented clients in many different situations and have obtained settlements for their clients to compensate them for their injuries. For instance, one client was injured while working at a restaurant when a patron’s dog bit her causing a serious permanent injury. As the dog was outside of the owner’s property, strict liability applied. In another instance, a dog attacked a woman while she was walking down her street. Due to the investigative work done by the attorneys at Kiernan, Plunkett & Redihan, LLP, we were able to prove that the dog had attacked people before. As the dog was outside of the owners property and had previously bit someone, the law allowed the victim to recover “double damages.” This essentially punishes the owner for allowing the dangerous dog to attack someone a second time. The law doesn’t only protect those who are bitten. In another case handled by the attorneys at Kiernan, Plunkett & Redihan, LLP, a dog ran into a woman at a park and knocked her down, causing her significant injuries.  As the dog was outside the enclosure of the owner’s property, strict liability applied.

If you or someone you know is bit by a dog, contact the lawyers at Kiernan, Plunkett & Redihan, LLP at 401-831-2900 and schedule your free consultation. If you own a dog, make sure you keep the dog on a leash and on your property, even as the weather gets colder.