Laws governing dog bite cases vary significantly from state to state, and there are many differences regarding attributing liability, filing notices, and applicable damages. Although many states follow the “one-bite rule,” Maine rejected the statute in 2001. Instead, Maine Statute section 3961, provides that an injury victim may hold a dog owner or keeper liable if the dog caused injuries to a person, damaged another’s property, or both, and the injury was not the fault of the victim. Depending on the circumstances of the dog bite, Maine will either apply the strict liability standard or negligence standard.
Under a strict liability theory, an owner or keeper of a dog who injures a person away from the owner’s property may be liable for damages. Thus, through strict liability, a person who suffers injuries from a dog bite may hold the owner or keeper responsible, even if the dog has never done anything similar before. In Maine, a dog’s “keeper” or “owner” is the person in control of a dog or another animal. A person becomes the keeper of a stray animal if the person feeds it for at least ten consecutive days.
In most cases, Maine applies the strict liability standard for dog bite cases. Therefore, the law does not allow for a reduction of damages because of the victim’s contributory negligence. Under this theory, a person who suffers injuries from a dog bite may hold the owner or keeper liable, even if the dog has never done anything similar before. In these cases, the law does not consider the victim’s contributory negligence in any damage calculations. In cases, where a dog causes injuries on the owner’s property, the dog bite victim must be able to establish that the owner failed to exhibit reasonable care in controlling the dog or preventing the victim’s injury.
Maine is unique, because many of the state’s cities and counties have specific ordinances that are not found in the state statutes. For instance, many counties have a “dangerous dog” law. This law provides that a “dangerous dog” is a dog that bites or attacks a person who is not trespassing on the owner or keeper’s property or, a dog that causes a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily injury.
Dog bite victims should seek medical care and legal representation because these injuries can have long-term medical and psychological effects on a person. Recently, a Maine news report described an incident where a dog bit a 3-year-old child at a friend’s home. Police were called to the house, and they transported the child to the hospital for her injuries. The owner signed the dog over to the Animal Refuge League, where the animal will be quarantined for ten days. The dog will be evaluated after the end of the ten days.
Have You Suffered Injuries from a Dog Bite In Maine?
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or damages because of a dog or another animal, you should contact the Maine injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates The lawyers at our firm possess the skills and experience to handle complex personal injury cases, including Maine dog bite cases. We have successfully represented and recovered damages on behalf of countless injury victims in their negligence and wrongful death claims, and look forward to meeting with you to discuss your claim. These cases require an in-depth understanding of complex and nuanced Maine statutes, so it is important that you contact our office to discuss your claim. Contact our dedicated attorneys at 1-800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation.