Are Dog Owners Liable for Bites?
Dogs are often considered man’s best friend, but it is important to remember that their behavior is largely dependent on their owners. We have all seen the vast difference between an untrained, rowdy dog that doesn’t obey commands and an obedient and trustworthy dog. This is why Nebraska state laws hold owners at fault when their dogs attack.
What Are Nebraska’s Dog Bite Laws?
If you are injured by a dog in Nebraska, you should immediately seek medical attention and get the insurance information of the owner. This is typically their homeowner’s insurance policy, which can provide compensation if a dog bites someone. Afterward, you should speak to an attorney to discuss all of your legal options.
In the state of Nebraska, dogs are considered the personal property of their owners. As such, owners have strict liability when a dog injures someone, whether it bites a child or knocks down a mailman. This is covered under Nebraska Revised Statute 54-601, which states that dog owners are responsible for paying compensation to anyone bitten or injured by their dogs, so long as the victim was not trespassing. Owners can also be considered liable even if they were not aware that the dog was dangerous.
While you may assume that you have a clear-cut case for compensation if a dog bit you at a park or while you were walking down the street, there is another important law to keep in mind.
Exceptions for Playful Dogs
It is well known that dogs are playful animals, and even Nebraska courts acknowledge this fact through an exception to the strict liability statute. Under the law, dogs may not be found liable for “playful and mischievous acts of dogs” that result in injuries. This definition is rather broad and is often used by owners to defend their dogs’ actions. In some cases, owners even argue that they are protected under the “one-bite statute,” which is a common-law defense that dog owners can only be held liable if local Animal Control has labeled the dog as dangerous.
However, it is not full proof. Dog owners are still subject to negligence laws, meaning if they allowed the dog to wander around a neighborhood without a leash in Omaha or if the dog does have a history of violent behavior, then they can still be found liable for any injuries the dog caused. In addition, the playful defense can be subject to scrutiny. Witnesses, videos of the attack, and even your own injuries may show that that dog acted in a violent manner and is not protected under the law.
There are many sides to a dog bite case, but you should not let a dog owner dissuade you from filing a claim. Dog bite injuries can be extensive and come with high medical bills. If you have been bitten in Omaha, you should reach out to a lawyer at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. to discuss our case. Our Omaha personal injury attorney can investigate the dog that bit you, review the owner’s insurance policy, and advocate for full compensation for your injuries. We also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay us a dime unless we win your case. To discuss your case further in a free consultation, call our office at (402) 505-8234.
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