Dog Bite Law in Louisiana

Louisiana is one of many states that have adopted a strict liability statute concerning dog bite injuries. This statute places greater liability on the owner of animals and offers more protection and compensation for victims of dog attacks. It also requires that specific rules be followed in cases concerning dog bites. The defendant, or the owner of the dog, is held liable when certain events occur.

“Art. 2321.  Damage caused by animals

The owner of an animal is answerable for the damage caused by the animal.  However, he is answerable for the damage only upon a showing that he knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that his animal’s behavior would cause damage, that the damage could have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable care, and that he failed to exercise such reasonable care.  Nonetheless, the 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.  Nothing in this Article shall preclude the court from the application of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in an appropriate case.

Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §1, eff. April 16, 1996.”

DogBiteLaw_wrapBasically, the statute states that if the bite could have been prevented by the owner, then the owner is liable, regardless of whether the owner was present during the incident or not.

Also, what the owner knew or did not know about their dog previous to the bite is irrelevant to the incident. Even if the dog has no history of being violent or has a long history of being violent and the owner has not taken adequate precautions to ensure the safety of others, then the owner is still liable for the injury.

The victim of the dog attack needs to consider two stipulations of the statute that may affect whether they have a case or not.

  1. Whether the victim was legally allowed at the location where the bite occurred and
  2. Whether the victim provoked the dog into attacking

While these stipulations may affect whether you have a case or not, you should always consult a lawyer. The dog bite laws in Louisiana are very protective of the victim of incidents and if you or someone you know was bitten by a dog, you should talk to someone who can help you recover from and be compensated for your injuries.

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