Have you ever heard of the expression, “Every dog is allowed one bite?” This comes from an old English common law rule dating to at least the 17th century, which holds that an owner of a dog that bites and injures another person is not liable to that person unless the owner knows that the dog is dangerous. The law assumed that the owner should know the dangerousness of the dog if it had bitten someone previously. This rule was beneficial to the second victim, but not very helpful, or fair, if you were the dog’s first victim. Today, things are different for NH dog bite victims.
Many years ago, the New Hampshire legislature recognized the unfairness of this old common law rule and passed a statute, RSA 466:19, which makes the owner strictly liable any time a dog causes damage to another person (or that person’s property) not engaged in trespass or other tort, without having to prove that the owner was negligent or knew the dog was dangerous or had a propensity to bite or attack others. The law used to provide double damages for dog attacks, but that provision was repealed in 1985.
If you or a member of your family has been injured by a NH dog bite attack, the attorneys at Bianco Professional Association are available to assist you in recovering the compensation provided under the law. The dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy should cover the amount of most claims. Please contact us by calling 603-225-7170 or reach us toll-free at 800-262-8112. You may also send us a message by using our contact form.