Nationwide, nearly 18,000 claims for dog bites were filed in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), which itself comprises but a small piece of the estimated 4.5 million people bitten by dogs each year.
As much as we love dogs, some of them can be dangerous, especially when their owners are neglectful or careless. If you have suffered an injury from a dog bite, find out how an Idaho dog bite lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can pursue justice on your behalf. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which you do not pay anything until we recover compensation for you.
To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, and review your legal options, call a member of our team today at (800) 816-0755.
Idaho Dog Bite Law
Idaho Codes sections 25-2801–25-2812 set a statewide baseline for dog-related regulations, though local governments are permitted to pass stricter ordinances. Idaho Code §25-2810 makes it a misdemeanor to possess an “at-risk” or “dangerous” dog without adhering to a number of requirements, including:
- Securing the dog when it is outsideKeeping the dog muzzled and leashed in public settings
- Microchipping or tattooing the dog
- Registering it with local authorities
- Posting signs near the property warning of a dangerous animal
Idaho defines an at-risk dog as one that has “without justified provocation” bitten a person without causing serious injury. A dangerous dog, meanwhile, has bitten a person and caused serious injury or has previously been deemed at-risk and bitten a second person. A dangerous or at-risk dog whose owner complies with the restrictions and whose dog does not engage in violent behavior for two years can have its classification removed.
There are cases in which a dog can bite someone without being deemed at-risk or dangerous:
- When defending someone
- When the injured person was committing a crime
- When the injured person was or previously had abused, tormented, or assaulted the dog
- When the dog was in pain or protecting its offspringWhen the dog was working, and the injured person interfered
- When the dog is a trained service animal
- When the injured person tried to intervene between two fighting dogs
Idaho is not a “one free bite” state—meaning, a state in which owners are not responsible for their dogs’ first bites. Idaho Code §25-2810(11) makes this clear: An unjustified dog attack is the responsibility of its owner, regardless of the dog’s history.
Typically, in a personal injury case, you would have to establish negligence in order to be eligible to recover compensation. This would include proving that:
- The other party had a duty to keep you safe
- They did something to breach this duty
- That breach of duty caused an accident
- You suffered injuries and material losses from the accident
However, in dog bite cases in Ohio, you do not have to prove that anyone was negligent, although this might help your case. Because Idaho has a specific dog-injury statute, none of this is strictly necessary. If a dog injures you, its owner is liable for the costs related to your injuries.
An Idaho dog bite lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm might be able to help you prove the only two qualifiers in order to recover compensation for a dog bite:
- The dog bit you
- You suffered injuries and losses
Idaho Code §6-801 specifies that Idaho follows a “comparative negligence” standard, which means that the losses you are entitled to recover will be diminished by your degree of fault in the accident.
In other words, if a court determines you were 20% at fault, your compensation will be reduced by 20%. In dog bite cases, comparative negligence might come into play, for example, when an injured person had teased a dog before being bitten.
You might still benefit from consulting with a lawyer if this is the case. They might help you prove that you were not comparatively negligent for the dog bite.
In Idaho, there is no cap on economic damages, meaning tangible costs such as medical expenses and lost wages you incur as a result of the dog bite. However, Idaho Code §6-1603 capped noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish at $250,000—except in cases involving willful misconduct or provable felonies—but adjusted that cap each year for inflation. As of 2020, it is $386,622, according to the Idaho Industrial Commission.
Idaho Code section 6-1604 also caps punitive damages, which are intended to punish defendants who acted maliciously or outrageously, at the greater of $250,000 or three times the amount of economic and noneconomic damages. This amount is not adjusted for inflation.
Idaho Code §6-807, meanwhile, gives judges the right to raise or lower juries’ damage awards if they believe them improper.
According to Idaho Code §5-219, you have two years from the date of the dog bite to file a lawsuit.
How We Can Help
Often—particularly when a dog has no tag or collar—the most difficult aspect of a dog-bite case is locating the dog’s owner. Whether or not that is true of your case, our attorneys will work tirelessly to seek justice for you. You will never be asked to pay an Idaho dog bite lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm a dime unless and until we recover you a fair settlement on your behalf.
If you would like to have your case evaluated, call our offices today at (800) 816-0755 to reach a member of our team for your free consultation.