The Liability of Dog Owners for Injury to Others

Attorney Mark Rufo PC

Most dogs are sweet and calm in normal situations. However, certain things can cause them to be aggressive, which may result in injury to another.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites result in around 800,000 injuries every year that need medical attention. More than half of dog bite situations happen on the property of the dog’s owner, which may result in the owner being liable for the injuries.

Liability of dog owners

New Hampshire honors the dog-bite statute, which states that the dog’s owner is liable for all physical damages and injuries caused to another by the dog, except in cases of trespassing. In certain states, the owner is not liable for the first bite, while in others, owners are liable in cases of negligence by the owner.

Signs of an aggressive dog

One way that owners and potential bite victims can reduce the chances of a dog attack is to be able to recognize signs that a dog may become aggressive. These include intense stares, guarding posture, ears that lie flat or stick up straight, bared teeth, growling and a tense stance.

The American Kennel Club discusses that some of the factors that may increase aggression include:

  • Pain
  • Fear
  • Age
  • Small size
  • Households with no other dogs
  • Inexperienced dog owners

Socialization can help curb aggression. Dogs that feel safe and secure also have fewer aggression issues.

Owners who identify aggressive behavior should figure out what is causing it so that they can take steps to fix the issue and prevent future episodes.