What is the One Bite Rule?

By Chris Dixon

The “one-bite rule” is a law that some states have adopted that allow dogs a “free pass” in some situations, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. While the one-bite rule doesn’t let a dog’s owner off the hook if they severely injure another animal or person, the dog’s owner may not be liable for the injured person’s damages depending on the circumstances and severity of the accident and the state’s dog bite statute.

Is the One Bite-Rule Always Enforced?

The one-bite rule protects a dog’s owner if they harm another animal or person. However, there are specific limits to the one-bite rule. The one-bite rule doesn’t apply in situations where the dog is responsible for severely injuring another person, or the dog’s owner knew or reasonably should have known that the dog was dangerous. But in some states, and in more minor dog bite accidents, the one-bite rule is enforced. Typically, if the dog had never harmed someone before the incident, or the owner shouldn’t have reasonably known that the dog was dangerous, the dog’s owner likely isn’t liable for the dog’s actions in the attack.

While the one-bite rule is designed to protect dog owners from liability if their dog harms someone for the first time, if the dog’s owner is found negligent in the accident, the one-bite rule could be thrown out. For example, if a dog bites someone at the dog park, but the dog’s owner wasn’t supervising the animal, or the dog was unrestrained, the owner is liable under the dog bite statute in most states to compensate the injured person for their injuries.

States That Use the “One-Bite Rule”

Most states don’t use the one-bite rule, but instead rely on complex dog bite statutes and strict liability. For example, in Missouri, if a dog bites someone, Missouri’s dog bite statute states that if the dog wasn’t provoked and the injured person wasn’t trespassing on private property, the dog’s owner is liable for the victim’s damages. Dog bite laws vary in each state, but states that have similar rules include Illinois, Michigan, and Oklahoma. States in the U.S. that have a “one-bite rule” for dog bite accidents include:

  • Texas
  • Alaska
  • Virginia
  • Oregon
  • Nevada
  • Mississippi

Speak With a Dog Bite Lawyer Today

If you are injured in a dog bite accident, and aren’t sure if your state uses the “one-bite rule,” or whether you are eligible to hold the dog’s owner liable for the dog’s actions, you need an experienced lawyer to represent your case. A Dog Bite Lawyer can make sure that you have the right to pursue a claim against the dog’s owner for your injuries, help you gather evidence of your injuries to support your claim, and defend your case against the dog’s negligent owner involved in the accident to recover the most compensation.

Christopher Dixon and the St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm have fought for the settlements and recoveries of countless personal injury victims. If you are unsure if you are eligible to recover compensation for your injuries caused by another person’s dog, or if your state has a one-bite rule in place, the Dixon Injury Firm is ready to help. Our experienced Dog Bite Lawyers in St. Louis have recovered more than $35,000,000 in settlements for injury victims, and Chris Dixon has repeatedly earned recognition as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

If you are ready to see how our Dog Bite Lawyers can help with your case, and recover damages from the liable party involved in your dog bite accident, call (314) 409-7060, 855-40-2724, or contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation.

St. Louis personal injury attorney Christopher Dixon handles cases all over Missouri and Illinois, including but not limited to the following areas: city of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, Lincoln County, St. Charles County, and Franklin County, in municipalities including Clayton, Maplewood, Richmond Heights, University City, Shrewsbury, Arnold, Des Peres, Chesterfield, Kirkwood, O’Fallon, St. Charles, St. Peters, Overland, Creve Coeur, Jennings, Manchester, Ballwin, Maryland Heights, Brentwood, Bridgeton, Glendale, Wildwood, Warson Woods, Town & Country, and Warrenton.

9666 Olive Boulevard
Ste. 202
St. Louis, MO 63132

Dixon Injury Firm

9666 Olive Boulevard
Ste. 202
St. Louis, MO 63132

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Dixon Injury Firm

9666 Olive Boulevard, Ste. 202
St. Louis, MO 63132

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