Dog Bite Laws in Maine
Serving Dog Bite Victims in Portland, Biddeford, Bangor, Augusta and Saco
Pet owners have a responsibility to make sure that their animals are not a threat to the public. If a dog owner neglects this responsibility and their animal causes injury to another party, Maine law states that the victim is entitled to seek compensation. The Center for Disease Control reports that each year about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. Of those, about 885,000 people require medical attention for their injuries. Additionally, half of these victims are children.
According to Maine Revised Statutes, Title 7, section 3961, an owner or keeper of an animal can be held liable for property damage their animal caused due to the owner or keeper's negligence. A dog owner can also be held liable for injuries that their pet inflicts when it is not on their property even if the dog was provoked. Section 3961.2 states that “Any fault on the part of the person injured may not reduce the damages recovered for physical injury to that person unless the court determines that the fault of the person injured exceeded the fault of the dog's keeper or owner.”
Maine law states that owners or keepers can be the subject of civil claims if their dog causes injury to another party. The definitions for owners and keepers are as follows:
- Owner: "Owner" means a person owning, keeping or harboring a dog or other animal.
- Keeper: "Keeper" means a person in possession or control of a dog or other animal. A person becomes the keeper of a stray domesticated animal, other than a dog or livestock, if the person feeds that animal for at least 10 consecutive days.
If you have been seriously hurt by a dog in Maine, contact an injury lawyer today to find out more about your rights.
Dog Bite Injuries
Maine has some very specific leash laws that require dog owners to keep their pets on their property and to take extra care to secure dogs that are deemed dangerous. A dangerous dog is a dog that has been ruled dangerous by the court after it attacked or bit an individual. An owner or keeper who does not secure a dangerous dog is demonstrating negligence.
Any type of dog is subject to Maine's dog bite laws including pets that were purchased to act as security or personal protection. It is not a valid excuse for an owner or keeper to claim that the dog is a guard dog; if the dog left the owner's property, it is still subject to this law. The average person should not have to worry about being bitten by an animal while out in public. Victims of a dog attack have rights regardless of where the attack took place. This includes:
- In public parks
- In dog parks
- On the sidewalk, while a dog is being walked
- On personal property that a stray wanders onto
A dog bite can often lead to serious injury, especially when a child is involved. The CDC found that children ages 5 to 9 are the group that most commonly requires medical attention in relation to a bite. There are many reasons why this may be true including the fact that children's smaller size makes them easier targets for dogs. Children's unpredictable behavior can also unwittingly provoke or agitate an animal.
In a dog attack, even a minor bite can result in the need for medical care. For example, a child or adults that is bitten in the face by a dog may become disfigured and require reconstructive surgery. While this might seem uncommon, the CDC reports that in 2012 more than 27,000 people underwent reconstructive plastic surgery to repair the damage done by animal bites.
Dog Bite Attorney in Portland, ME
If you or your child has been the victim of a dog bite attack, contact a Maine injury attorney. An injury that requires hospitalization can lead to steep medical bills, he needs for reconstructive surgery and more. It should not be up to the victim and their family to pay these bills. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation that you need for medical bills, pain suffering and more.
Injuries sustained from a dog bite are generally covered under a pet owner's or keeper homeowner's insurance policy. When a victim is hurt by an animal, an injury lawyer can help them fight for their rights. The insurance company cannot always be trusted to make an offer for what is fair. If you have been injured in an animal attack in Maine, make sure you speak to an experienced lawyer before giving any information to the insurance company. To find out more about your rights, contact The Law Offices of William T. Bly..