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       For informational purposes only. Always consult an attorney to obtain competent legal advice.

Dog Bites & Attacks
Dog Bites & Attacks

Dog Attacks of people or their dogs can be especially terrifying, often resulting in serious scarring and disfigurement


  • Dog attacks can result in serious personal injuries and scarring. Rhode Island state laws and many municipal ordinances impose liability on dog owners and property owners for dog bites and other damages caused by dogs deemed "vicious". For example, when a dog has a history of attacking people or animals and does so again, extra damages may apply. For this reason, obtaining any history of the attacking dog is crucial.

  • Many dog attack claims originate when an "aggressive" dog attacks an innocent dog unprovoked, and the owner of the innocent dog sustains injuries while trying to stop the attack. Again, if the attacking dog has a history of at least one other attack, then the owner of the attacking dog and/or owner of the property where the attacking dog escaped from may be liable for double damages.

  • When a dog escapes from an enclosure and attacks or bites a person outside of the enclosure, a claim is ordinarily made against the owner of the property where the dog escaped from, whether or not the owner knew of the dog. The property owner's insurance policy usually provides coverage for such claims.

  • A person who is a close relative of the injured person, and who witnessed the person being injured, and who suffered serious emotional injury that can be measured by physical symptoms as a result of the attack, may recover damages for emotional distress.

  • When a vicious dog, such as an attacking pit bull, attacks and kills another dog, the owner of the dog that was killed may only have a claim for the fair market value of his or her dog, which is often very little; this is because dogs are considered an item of personal property. However, if the owner of the dog that was killed was also injured when trying to stop the attack, the owner may recover for his or her personal injuries, which may also include emotional distress

  • Dog Attacks of people can result in puncture and crush wounds, scarring, disfigurement, and even permanent loss of use of a hand, leg or other body part. 

  • Under Rhode Island law, a "vicious dog" that has a documented history of at least one prior attack can result in multiple damages.

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