Louisiana Dog Owners Can be Liable for Vicious Bites and Attacks

April 14, 2021 Accident

Louisiana Dog Owners Can be Liable for Vicious Bites and Attacks

If you or a loved one has been attacked and/or bit by a vicious dog here in Louisiana, you can sue for money damages. Vicious dogs present an unreasonable risk of harm to others living near the dog, and if the dog bites or mauls or otherwise causes injury, the dog’s owners can be brought to justice and held accountable. If you have been injured by a dog, seek medical help first and then contact the proven Louisiana dog bite litigators at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick, LLC.

Act quickly because there are strict time deadlines for filing your lawsuit and/or making an insurance claim for compensation. Victims of vicious dog attacks can recover compensation for all medical expenses, any lost wages or earnings, pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

Under Louisiana law, there are two legal theories that can be used to hold dog owners liable for injury or damage caused by their dogs — strict liability and negligence. Strict liability is set forth in Louisiana’s Civil Code, Art. 2321. The statute states as follows: “The owner of an animal is answerable for the damage caused by the animal … [T[he owner of a dog is strictly liable for damages for injuries to persons or property caused by the dog and which the owner could have prevented and which did not result from the injured person’s provocation of the dog.” Louisiana courts have interpreted this to mean that, to recover for injuries caused by a dog bite or mauling, evidence of five legal elements must be shown:

  • Dog ownership
  • The dog created an unreasonable risk of harm to others
  • Injury or property damage was caused by the dog
  • The victim of the attack did not provoke the dog

Factual evidence that can be used to show that a dog is dangerous — that it constitutes an unreasonable risk of harm — includes prior bites and attacks, aggressive behavior, meanness, bad temperament and more.

Even if it cannot be shown that a dog created an “unreasonable risk of harm,” dog owners can still be held liable for injury caused by a dog under Louisiana’s law of negligence. See Kshirsagar v. State Farm Ins. Co., 300 So. 3d 914 (Louisiana Court of Appeals, 2nd Cir. 2020). From the Kshirsagar case, here are a few examples of how a dog owner might be held to be negligent for a bite or mauling or any injury caused by their dog:

  • The owner was careless in handling the dog
  • Failure to be attentive and watchful over the dog
  • Failure to maintain a proper and careful watch for those coming near the dog
  • Failure to properly restrain or cage or fence the dog
  • Failure to comply with local animal control regulations, laws, and ordinances

Note that victims can recover money damages even if the dog does not bite. If a dog jumps at or on a person, for example, and that results in injury (from falling, for example), the dog’s owner can be held liable.

Our Attorneys Can Help

For more information, contact the Louisiana dog bite lawyers at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. If you have been the victim of a Louisiana dog attack, we have a proven track record of success in winning compensation for our clients. We also handle many other types of Louisiana personal injury cases. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.