Liability in Maine Dog Bite Lawsuits

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 4.7 million dog bites occur annually in the United States. Of the 4.7 million, 800,000 bites require medical care. Maine dog bite victims may be able to recover compensation for their injuries under the state’s dog bite statute. While some dog bites require little treatment, many bites result in severe injuries. People may require hospitalization related to dog bites because of infections, wound repair, and bone fractures. Dog bites often cause long-term and debilitating injuries that require costly and time-consuming treatment.

Generally, Maine dog bite victims can claim damages and receive compensation for dog bites based on Maine’s strict liability, negligence, negligence per se, or intentional tort laws. Victims must file personal injury lawsuits based on dog bites no later than six years after the injury.

Maine is a strict liability state. Generally, strict liability means that the victim does not need to prove that the owner engaged in any negligent behavior. However, there are some nuances to Maine’s strict liability laws.

For example, section 3961 of Maine’s Animal Welfare Laws addresses liability when a person is bitten by a dog or suffers injuries or property damage because of an animal. Under this law, Maine dog bite victims can hold an owner liable if the animal injured the person or damaged their property, and the injury and or damage was not the fault of the victim. However, if the victim suffered injuries while on the dog owner’s property, the victim needs to show that the owner’s negligence caused the injury. Establishing negligence in these situations may include proving that the owner knew that the dog had dangerous propensities and failed to protect against injury. Dangerous propensities often include behavior such as, biting, growing, snarling, and fighting. If the injury occurred anywhere else, the victim does not need to establish the owner’s negligence.

Maine’s animal welfare statute limits liability to owners whose animals cause injuries or property damage if the victim was at “fault.” There is no strict definition of fault, and determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. However, two typical situations where an injured victim may be at fault is when they trespassed onto the property where the injury occurred, or they provoked the animal. In Maine, an animal owner can avoid liability, despite negligence, if the victim was more at fault for the injury than the animal owner. However, if the victim is responsible for less than 50% of their injuries, the owner is liable for the entire damage amount.

Have You Suffered Injuries After a Dog Bite in Maine?

If you or a loved one suffered injuries after a dog attack or bite, you should contact the experienced Maine injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates. Maine dog bites and animal attacks often cause permanent physical, emotional, and financial trauma to victims. Medical treatment related to animal attacks can be tens of thousands of dollars, and it is unfair to burden injury victims with those costs. The attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates have helped countless victims recover damages for the injuries they sustained. Compensation includes payments for things such as, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. Contact the law firm at 1-800-804-2004 to schedule your free initial consultation.