Though dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend”, their bites can cause severe injuries and scarring to their victims. The medical bills incurred from treating serious dog bites can add up quickly, from emergency room visits to cosmetic surgery procedures later.
Does Utah Law Allow Compensation for a Dog Bite?
Utah law allows a dog bite victim to be compensated under the traditional legal doctrines of negligence and intentional tort. However, Utah also has a special statute making dog owners strictly liable for injuries from their dog’s bites.
A dog owner would be liable under “scienter” or knowingly for harm caused by his dog under the “one bite rule”; that is, every dog could have one free bite–after that, the owner would know that the dog may bite people and needs to prevent his dog from biting. For dog bites, the dog owner or keeper would be liable to a dog bite victim if the dog had previously bit or tried to bite someone and the dog owner knew of this dog’s prior conduct.
Utah Code adds a strict liability provision to its dog bite statute, making a dog owner liable even when a dog bites a person for the first time:
Utah Code Section 18-1-1. Liability of owners — Scienter — Dogs used in law enforcement. Every person owning or keeping a dog shall be liable in damages for injury committed by such dog, and it shall not be necessary in any action brought therefor to allege or prove that such dog was of a vicious or mischievous disposition or that the owner or keeper thereof knew that it was vicious or mischievous; but neither the state nor any county, city, or town in the state nor any peace officer employed by any of them shall be liable in damages for injury committed by a dog when: (1) The dog has been trained to assist in law enforcement, and (2) the injury occurs while the dog is reasonably and carefully being used in the apprehension, arrest, or location of a suspected offender or in maintaining or controlling the public order.
Call a Dog Bite Lawyer
Call one of our dog bite lawyer Utah team members at PEARSON BUTLER Law. We will evaluate and analyze the facts of your case and help you assess whether you have a claim to pursue and the manner in which to pursue the best compensation available from your dog bite injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, contact one of our Utah personal injury attorneys at (801) 495-4104.