Understanding Oregon’s One-Bite Rule

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Dogs are widely considered “man’s best friend” — that is, until they bite you or a loved one. Unfortunately, dog bites can cause some serious injuries, resulting in expensive medical bills and even long-lasting pain and suffering. For that reason, many dog bite victims choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

If successful, a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner can ensure you are adequately reimbursed for medical bills, missed wages, and other damages associated with the bite. In the worst cases, surviving family members may need to pursue a wrongful death suit against the owner. However, before beginning legal action, it is important to understand Oregon dog bite regulations.

The One Bite Rule

Oregon’s dog bite laws – or lack thereof – are more accurately referred to as a “one bite rule.” In an official capacity, there is not a specific dog bite law in place. In general, the legal system assigns liability for dog bites only if the owner knows of or has reason to believe the dog has “dangerous propensities.”

To establish dangerous propensities, the dog most often has a history of biting or of treating people or other animals aggressively. In this case, the owner should have known the dog was capable of biting and prevented access to others. If this is not the case, the dog essentially gets one free bite, establishing it as a dangerous dog, before the owner is assumed to have knowledge of these dangerous propensities.

Proving Dangerous Propensities and Reasonable Care

If the dog has previously bitten others, the incident may be on record – especially if the authorities were involved. Check local records or consider speaking with neighbors and others who may have had issues with the dog. Even if no previous vicious behavior is found, the owner must exercise reasonable care to ensure the dog does not attack others; if you can show the dog owner was negligent in some way, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim.

For more information regarding Oregon dog bite legalities, or to request a consultation regarding your dog bite case, contact the law offices of Shlesinger & deVilleneuve. Our experienced attorneys can examine your case and determine your next steps towards receiving compensation.

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