Not all injures from dogs come from a bite. Dogs can be large and aggressive and sometimes knock people over and hurt them without even biting them. Small children are especially vulnerable to knockdown injuries.
These typically happen in two ways, one when the dog is being overly friendly and is playing, the other when the dog attacks but does most or all of the damage with their body instead of their teeth. When a dog is just playing, it’s a bit more difficult to prove that the owner was negligent, but not impossible.
If the dog attacked the person and injured them by knocking them down, then the same rules of negligence apply as if the dog had bitten the victim.
The “One Bite Rule”
Idaho is one of the few states that uses the traditional common law rule called the “one bite rule.” However, under Idaho law, the analysis doesn’t end at just one bite, and the rule requires the victim to prove negligence before they will make the owner pay for damages.
The idea is that if the dog had never been aggressive and did something out of character, then the owner isn’t negligent because he or she didn’t know that they needed to keep their dog away from people. However, there are other ways to prove negligence if the dog hadn’t bitten anyone before:
- Aggressive Dog: A previous serious bite or attack can be used to show that the dog was aggressive. If a dog is deemed aggressive and then bites someone, then the owner is liable for the injuries. The law gives the owner of an aggressive dog a duty to keep it from harming anyone.
- State Law: Idaho bans some dog breeds, and others are considered dangerous and aggressive, and the owner has to keep such a dog from attacking anyone. (See Idaho Statutes Title 25, Chapter 25, Section 25-2810).
- Trespassing Dog: If the dog was trespassing on another person’s property or enters another person’s yard or house and bites or attacks someone, the courts will allow this as evidence to prove that the owner was negligent.
These are just a few ways that an owner can be considered negligent when their dog bites someone.
When Dogs Don’t Bite
Of course, we’re not talking about a dog bite here, but when dogs injure without biting. Therefore, the law doesn’t apply. So does this mean that you can’t get compensation for a knock-down or other non-bite dog injury? You still can, but you just can’t get the help from Washington’s dog bite law.
This means that if you or your child was knocked down by a dog, then you have to prove that the owner was negligent before you can collect compensation.
To prove someone was negligent, you have to provide evidence that they acted in a manner that didn’t give someone else the caution and care due them under the law. Examples are someone running a red light or failing to pick up debris on a sidewalk in front of a store.
Basically, it means that someone was careless in what they did or what they failed to do, and it caused injury to another person.
Applying that to a knockdown injury, the victim has to prove that the owner of the dog knew or should have been aware that the dog might knock the person over. For example, if the dog is an aggressive 80 lb. Labrador and there is a toddler or an elderly person that is unsure on their feet, then the owner should take some precautions when the dog is around.
Types of Damages for Non-Bite Dog Injuries
A dog can do serious damage even if it doesn’t bite, and when it does, the injured person is entitled to certain damages. Most people are aware of the obvious damages like medical bills, but there are more that aren’t so obvious. Some of these are:
- Medical Bills
- Lost time from work
- Permanent disability/disfigurement
- Transportation to treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Counseling/mental anguish
What Should I do if I was Injured by Being Knocked Down by a Dog?
If either you or a child has been injured by a dog that wasn’t from a bite, the most important thing is to get the injuries taken care of. If you can, take pictures of the injuries and even of the dog, but only if you can do so safely. After that, you need to talk to Couer d’Alene Dog Bite Attorney who knows Idaho’s law regarding dog bites and other dog injuries.
Talk to the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., and get someone on your side. We serve clients in Spokane, WA, Coeur d’Alene, ID, and surrounding communities and can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call us at (509) 926 4900, or send us a message by clicking here.