A Dog’s Dangerous Trait: Running Up & Down the Stairs

Written By Bruce Thabit

Bruce Thabit is the owner of DogBite.org and has counseled numerous dog bite victims and their families. A recognized authority on dog bite law. A skilled, knowledgeable, experienced civil litigator since 1988. Call toll free number for free consult: Telephone: 1-844-444-0449. info@dogbite.org

Date September 30, 2016

Dog Bite Laws Include Dangerous Traits of a Dog

Dog bite laws include dangerous traits not just dog bite. I mean that under the rubric of dog bite laws are other traits other than viciousness. For instance, I remember we had a case which went to arbitration which we won where two golden retrievers would run up and down a stair case. The plaintiff was walking on the stair case and the dogs ran down the stairs and knocked the plaintiff down the stair case. The dogs were docile gentle beasts but the arbitrator found that this was a dangerous trait and also the owner was aware of the trait which caused the injuries. Here both negligence and common law strict liability was plead. No dog bite statute was pled since there was not a dog bite.

When there is no dog bite, but the dog(s) cause an injury evaluate whether the trait is dangerous and whether there is negligence. Negligence is conduct that falls below the standard of care for the protection of others against unreasonable acts of harm.

Dog Bite Laws Include Dog Dangerous Traits Other Than Viciousness

More specifically, dogs’ dangerous traits are questions of fact and according to case law decisions include such traits as dogs jumping on people, dogs chasing people and cars, and here dogs running into people.

Dog bite laws sound in viciousness and whether a dog bit someone, but also other dogs’ dangerous traits are actionable. Such a dog dangerous trait varies based on the particular trait.

Here, whether a dog’s trait is dangerous may become blurred when analyzed in application to negligence and common law strict liability claims.

A review of the case law is helpful to determine a dog’s dangerous trait under dog bite laws.  Just remember that dog bite laws include dangerous traits other than viciousness.


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