Help for Dog Bite Victims

March 2015

Dogs have long been known as “man’s best friend.” Although most dogs live up to that motto, it’s important to remember that canines are animals. Like any animal, they are capable of hurting people. Even the most lovable family pet can lash out when scared or frightened. In other cases, a dog attacks for no reason at all. If you have suffered a dog bite, it’s important to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer.

According to the University of Minnesota’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences, approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur each year in the United States, with 42 percent of these involving victims under the age of 14. Out of all these attacks, more than 360,000 victims are treated in emergency rooms nationwide. People injured by dogs can suffer serious harm, including nerve damage, spinal injuries, amputations, and puncture wounds. Many victims must undergo cosmetic surgery to repair the damage. Children are especially vulnerable to dog attacks, with many kids suffering mental trauma that lasts for years and even a lifetime.

Iowa Dog Bite Law

Under Iowa law, a dog’s owner is responsible for any and all injuries caused by his or her dog. The owner must pay for the victim’s lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses. In many states, lawmakers have adopted what is known as the “one bite rule,” which essentially gives a dog and its owner a free pass for the first bite. The one bite rule does not apply in Iowa. In our state, an owner is strictly liable for his or her dog’s attack even if it is the first time the dog has bitten a person. Furthermore, the victim does not have to show that the dog was vicious or that the owner was acting negligently in handling the dog.

In some situations, however, an Iowa dog owner may not be held accountable for a dog’s bite. Iowa Code Section 351.28 states that an owner is not responsible for damages caused by his or her dog “… when the party damaged is doing an unlawful act, directly contributing to the injury.” For example, a thief who breaks into a residence can’t bring a personal injury claim against the owner of a dog who attacked during the burglary.

Additionally, the law also provides that people responsible for possessing, keeping, or harboring a dog may be liable for the dog’s attack if they knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous.

Iowa Personal Injury Law Firm

If you have been injured by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses. Contact Attorney Ed Keane today at (712) 234-3088 to discuss your case.

This website has been prepared by Keane Law Firm for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.