Portland, OR asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Oregon

Q: A person was bit by our dog on our property while we were out of town. The person was permitted to be on the property.

There were no witnesses to the event and the injury required many stitches but not severe. Dog owners are cooperating and are willing to help financially but with in reason. Dog has never bitten or shown signs of aggression. Many strangers visit property daily. Victim has a history of seeking unnecessary medical care and ER visits. Are dog owners protected by the “one bite” rule? Should dog owners seek legal protection to avoid getting taken advantage of?

3 Lawyer Answers

Michael Bersani


A: If this happened in Oregon, it is important that you ask your question ONLY to an Oregon personal injury lawyer. You should not accept any answer from a lawyer who is not a licensed Oregon lawyer. Reason: dog bite laws are very different in each State. I know the answer to your question for New York, but not for Oregon. Good luck!

Joanne Reisman agrees with this answer

Mr. Michael O. Stevens

  • Hillsboro, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Make a claim with your homeowners insurance, they will handle it. You are responsible for the medical bills, the one-bite rule only applies to non-economic damages, and it is actually more complex than that. But, your insurance will cover it.

1 user found this answer helpful

Joanne Reisman

  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Your question contains two different issues. One is financial liability. That is easy to deal with. Call your home owners or renters insurance company and report the incident. Insurance companies are very skilled at dealing with inflated claims and that is what your premium dollars really go to pay for. The insurance company will hire and pay for a lawyer to defend you if a lawsuit is filed.

The rules about dogs biting people has to do with local city and county rules about animal control. I don't know those rules very well as I don't get involved much with these types of issues. But generally speaking you don't have to worry about this unless someone reports your dog to animal control and animal control contacts you. I think it also makes a difference if the dog was threatened by a person being on your property that didn't belong on your property versus a dog acting abnormally aggressive under normal circumstances but I am not sure about that. There are local Attorneys who special in Animal Law that you could seek out if you need more information on this subject.

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