Dog Bites

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RI Attorney handling dog attack victims.

There are over four million cases of dog bites each year, many of them causing permanent disfigurement or serious physical and emotional damage. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a dog bite, it is important that you take legal action against the negligent pet owner. The Law Office of Devane, Fogarty & Ribezzo can evaluate your dog bite case and file a claim for damages against the pet’s owner if warranted. The Law Offices of Devane, Fogarty & Ribezzo is committed to protecting the rights of dog bite victims and ensuring they are fully compensated for their physical and emotional injuries.

We can establish liability for dog bite injuries under the following legal theories:

1. Common law. Traditionally, many states followed the “one-bite rule,” which was derived from court decisions rather than explicit laws. Under common law principles, a dog owner is responsible for a bite or attack if the owner had reason to believe that the dog was likely to cause that type of injury. Basically, the rule allows “one bite” before a dog owner is expected to know that the dog is potentially dangerous.

2. Dog bite statutes. Many states, including Rhode Island, have replaced the common law with statutes that address dog bites. Rhode Island’s dog bite law, G.L. § 4-13-16, holds dog owners strictly liable for any injury — including a bite or other wound — that occurs outside the dog’s enclosure. Under that law, the dog’s owner or keeper may be held liable for any injuries even though he or she is not at fault for the incident. The Rhode Island law also requires the dog owner to pay double damages — and put the animal down — when a second attack occurs outside the dog’s pen or enclosure.

3. Negligence theory. Even when the statute does not apply, a dog owner may be responsible for a dog bite or attack that occurs because the owner was unreasonably careless or negligent in controlling the dog.

To ensure that your claim addresses all medical costs, both current and future, as well as the emotional damage and pain and suffering of a dog bite injury, we will investigate all possible insurance policies including renter’s insurance, homeowner’s insurance and any other coverage available.

For personal injury claims we work on a contingency basis, which means that we charge no fee unless successful and then a fixed percentage of the settlement and/or verdict. This means no out of pocket costs for our clients. If you think that you or a loved one was injured due to someone else’s negligence, discuss the details with one of our personal injury lawyers. We will evaluate your claim and explain your option.

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