Many kids really like dogs while some are frightened of them. Unfortunately, many dog bite cases involve kids. Helping a child steer clear of a bite incident is the goal, but that’s not always possible.
Idaho law provides that dog owners can be held liable in how they keep and control a dog when if it bites or causes injury to an individual. A dog owner owes a duty of care to keep their dogs within the standards required by of the law.
Idaho Code § 25-2805(2)) defines a vicious animal as “[a]ny animal which bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a human being.”
The statute requires any vicious animal to be confined in an enclosure. This is true even the owner may not have known the dog had a propensity to bite.
The Idaho Supreme Court has long rejected the old common law rule that provided a vicious animal could attack without consequence to an owner.
The Court has further rejected the “familiar but fallacious saying that every dog gets one free bite before its owner can be held to be negligent for failing to control the dog.”
This is not the current law in Idaho with respect to dog bites. Thus, an owner can be held liable for a dog bite even if it’s the first time the dog has bitten someone.
If a dog owner is found liable for a dog bite, then Idaho law provides that they can be ordered to pay for all medical bills, including future medical bills caused by the dog bite. They may also be required to pay for disfigurement caused by scarring and emotional damage caused by the dog bite. If there are any disabilities or other issues caused by the dog bite, then the owner may be liable for those as well.
Even though the dog bite law in Idaho may hold the owner liable and provide for the payment of damages, prevention in teaching your child how to act around dogs is “preventive medicine” worth the time. This will help minimize the chance of your child being injured by a dog bite.
If your child has been bitten by a dog in Idaho, please give us a call and we’ll review the current dog bite law with you and give you our honest opinion as to whether you could seek damages.