Liability for Dog Bite Injuries in Kansas
Kansas has no dog bite statute. Instead, it uses the common law one bite rule. Under this rule, the owner of a dog is not held liable for personal injuries caused by a bite unless the owner either knew or should have known that the dog was predisposed to bite people. The most convincing way a dog owner can be presumed to have notice of the dog’s propensity to bite humans is a previous biting incident. Indeed, a subsequent incident will lead to indefensible liability for the owner, unless the owner can demonstrate some negligence or assumption of risk on the part of the victim.
In the absence of a previous bite, or proof thereof, there are other ways in which a dog bite victim can argue a case against an owner to prove notice of viciousness toward humans. Here are several of those ways:
Dog Bite Arguments
Training and Dog Environment
If a dog is trained as a guard dog or is merely a family pet but has been given training to protect the household, this establishes reason for the owner to know that the dog has a propensity to bite people.
Some dog breeds inherently have more aggressive traits than others, and this aggression means a greater chance of biting. The most common example is a pit bull, which has a fearsome reputation.
Signage Warning of Dog
A sign warning of a dog can be construed as evidence that the owner knows the dog has aggressive behavior toward people. The verbiage of the sign can be relevant, especially if it refers to the animal as a “guard dog,” “bad dog,” or advises “beware.”
Growling or Lunging at People While Walking on a Leash
Aggressive behavior of dogs can be clear to observe by anyone in the neighborhood. If the dog demonstrates an assaultive demeanor toward people—especially that which requires the owner to restrain the animal—the owner has reason to know the dog may bite.
Confinement While Guests Enter The Home or Muzzling the Jaws
If the owner keeps the dog sequestered from guests or applies a muzzle, this can be offered as evidence that the owner does so to prevent foreseeable attack on people.
Fights With Or Attacks On Other Dogs
Although aggression toward other dogs does not equate the same toward people, it can, especially when joined with others above, help lay the foundation for the assumption that the owner knew the dog presented a danger to people also.
Kansas courts have recognized other types of harm caused by dogs and awarded victims accordingly. These cases include a person being frightened by a barking dog and suffering injury by being startled and therefore falling off a bicycle, and people being knocked over by large dogs, even in non-aggressive fashion.
Get Legal Representation
Dog attacks can be extremely horrifying experiences, and can cause great bodily injury including disability, permanent disfigurement, and death. If you or a loved one has been involved in an attack by a dog, whether owner or bite victim, protect your rights. Demand just compensation for injuries and medical bills. Contact the office of Neustrom & Associates in Salina by calling (785) 825-1505 for a free and confidential initial consultation.