Liability for Dog Bites in Louisiana – New Orleans Personal Injury Lawyers | Egenberg Trial Lawyers

Liability for Dog Bites in Louisiana

Louisiana’s dog bite statute is different from those that you will find in most states. Elsewhere, the law is that dog owners are strictly liable for damages when their dog bites someone. All the dog bite victim would need to prove is that they were bitten. In Louisiana, the dog bite victim would need to do more work to receive financial compensation for their injury. Essentially, they would need to prove negligence in their case, making it more necessary to have an experienced dog bite lawyer on their side.


Proving Negligence in Louisiana Dog Bite Cases

Proving your case is based solely on the dog owner’s behavior before your injury. Conceivably, it would be possible for them to escape responsibility for some dog bites. They are not automatically responsible for everything that their dog does.

There are four parts to the test of whether a dog owner was negligent in your case. They are:

  • The dog owner owed a duty of care (they usually owe a duty of care to others around their dog)
  • The dog owner breached the duty of care by acting in a way that a reasonable dog owner would not
  • You suffered an injury
  • You would not have been injured had it not been for the actions or omissions of the dog owner


How a Dog Owner Can Act Unreasonably

The main focus is on the second element. There are several things that you need to prove to show that the dog owner acted unreasonably. They are:

  • The dog owner had actual knowledge (or should have known) of the dog’s danger
  • The dog owner did not do anything (beforehand or at the time) to prevent the bite or attack
  • You were bitten or attacked by the dog
  • You did not do anything to attack or provoke the dog


The Insurance Company May Use Provocation as an Excuse Not to Pay

Insurance companies love to try to take a bad dog attack and make it the victim’s fault to get out of paying. They like to claim that the victim provoked the dog. However, they take this much further than the law intends. Provoking a dog means deliberately agitating or causing it pain. Going over to pet a dog is not provocation. Further, as many dog bite victims are children, the law is less likely to find that children provoked dogs, since they are not held to the same legal standard. However, it is an argument that you may need to counter with evidence when you file a dog bite injury claim.

The fourth element in the negligence test is called causation, and this is much easier to meet in dog bite cases because it is clear that the dog caused the injuries. It requires more proof when someone was injured in a dog attack when they were trying to evade the dog. 


What Dog Owners Do Wrong that Could Be Negligence

Here, the dog owner must do something wrong for you to receive compensation. If the owner has taken precautions, and they had no idea about the dog’s dangerous tendencies, you may have a harder time recovering. This is an even higher standard than the “one free bite” rule used in many states.

Here are some examples of things that could be considered negligence on the part of the dog owner:

  • Walking the dog in public without a leash
  • Having a dog in public that has a history of attacking or biting people
  • Not fencing a dog in on their own property
  • Not posting a “beware of the dog” sign when they know their dog is dangerous
  • Allowing their dog into the path of walkers and joggers on a trail

It may be easier to prove the dog owner’s negligence when you have been bitten by a more dangerous breed of dog. This could include:

  • Pit bulls
  • German shepherds
  • Bulldogs
  • Rottweilers

In these cases, you may be able to prove that the dog owner should have known of the danger of the dog solely by virtue of their breed. For example, they should take extra steps to protect the public when they have a dog like a pit bull that has a reputation for being aggressive. Other times, the owner knows that the dog is dangerous when they have already attacked someone in the past.

This standard applies to both dog bites and other injuries caused by a dog’s behavior. For example, if a person injured themselves trying to get away from a dog, or they fell when a dog jumped on them, the same negligence test would apply. 


How to Prove Negligence in Dog Bite Injury Claims

Gathering proof of what happened before the incident is crucial to your case. This is why it is vital to learn more information about the dog’s prior behavior and to get contact information from witnesses who saw what happened. Here is what could be evidence to prove negligence in your dog bite case:

  • Witness testimony from people who were there
  • Physical evidence from the scene of the attack
  • The dog owner’s own version of events (including their admissions)
  • Photographs from the scene
  • The police report of the incident

An experienced lawyer can help assemble the proof that you will need, since you must meet a higher standard in Louisiana. This is not to say that you cannot receive compensation for dog bites. You just need more preparation and work to prove your claim. 


Experienced New Orleans Dog Bite Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog bite or attack, contact the New Orleans law firm of Egenberg Trial Attorneys right after the incident to begin work on your claim. We can help you assemble the claim that could get you paid for your injuries. Call us today at (504) 229-5700 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. We can fight for you when you are trying to receive compensation for your dog bite injuries.