When it comes to dog bite liability, the rules vary by state. Mississippi has adopted a “one bite” law, which differs significantly from the strict liability laws of some other States.
Under strict liability laws, animal owners are held legally responsible for injuries caused by their dogs if a victim had permission to be on the dog owner’s property and did not provoke the animal in any way. In “one bite” law states like Mississippi, whether it was likely the owner knew or could have reasonably known the dog would bite and whether appropriate precautions were taken as a result are considered. This is not easy to determine, however. In these cases, the plaintiff must demonstrate the owner’s liability by proving that it was highly likely the defendant knew or should have had known about the dog’s potential to cause harm.
A plaintiff might be able to prove that the dog was likely to hurt someone based on the dog’s breed, previous bites, tendency to bark at or threaten strangers or jump on people, fights with other dogs and fight training, in addition to previous complaints about the dog.
If you or a loved one have recently been injured by a dog and believe the owner had or should have had knowledge that the injury might occur, please contact Van Cleave Law at (228) 432-7826 or online.