One Bite RuleYou may be wondering why there is confusion as to dog bite liability if the law is relatively straightforward in Florida. The answer is that different states have different regulations and that right across the border in Georgia, there is a “one bite” rule for determining liability. Under the one bite rule, the owner needs to be on notice that a dog is vicious before being liable for any dog bite injuries. Basically, a dog is entitled to one “free” bite (or other act of aggressive behavior) before the dog owner is responsible. Georgia is one of 16 states with this rule. The one bite rule allows dog owners to assume that their dogs are not dangerous. But as soon as the owner is put on notice of the dog’s tendency for viciousness, the owner must take proactive steps to protect people in foreseeable dangerous situations. Failure to do so may result in liability for later injuries. Some factors that a Orange Park injury lawyer will look at to examine a tendency for viciousness include:
- Previous Bite. The most obvious sign that a dog is dangerous is if the dog has previously bitten another person.
- Aggressive Behavior. Overly aggressive behavior like jumping on people, protecting the home or family members from strangers, and barking incessantly may support notice that a dog is dangerous.
- Biting Other Dogs. A dog does not need to have previously bitten another person to put the owner on notice. Even dog bites to another dog may support a tendency for the dog’s viciousness.
- Breed of the dog. Certain breeds of dogs are associated with vicious behavior such as pit bulls and German Shepherds.
- Prior Complaints. If neighbors had previously complained about the dog, this may support notice that the dog is dangerous.