Dog Bite Laws in Vermont
If you have been bitten by someone else’s dog and suffered serious injuries that required medical attention, you might assume that you are entitled to compensation for your losses. However, despite Vermont’s more permissive rules for owners controlling their dogs, Vermont’s dog bite laws actually impose a higher legal bar for an injured party to clear to recover compensation.
For more than 30 years, Vermont dog bite attorney David Lynch has worked to help injured victims like you pursue the fair recovery they need and deserve after suffering injuries caused by someone else’s wrongdoing. He understands that not everyone may want to create conflict or go through the trouble of filing a legal claim. But at Lynch Legal Services, PLLC, we know that you have rights. We want to serve as your voice and advocate for your rights and interests.
Let us help you understand the Vermont dog bite laws and your rights and options if you’ve been injured by a dog attack. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation to learn more about how we can seek a fair outcome on your behalf.
What Do You Have to Prove Under Vermont’s Dog Bite Laws?
In Vermont, you may be entitled to recover compensation for being injured by a dog bite or attack if you can prove that the incident was caused or facilitated by the dog’s owner’s negligence.
Unlike some states that impose strict liability on dog owners Vermont follows the “one bite rule.” Under this rule, a dog owner’s negligence in an attack must be established by showing that the owner knew or had reason to know of the dog’s aggressiveness or viciousness because the dog previously bit or attacked.
This may require finding a hospital report, an insurance report, or a report filed with authorities showing that the dog that bit or attacked you had attacked or shown viciousness in the past.
Dog Bite Reporting in Vermont
Under Vermont law, when you have been bitten by someone’s dog while off the premises of the dog’s owner, and you suffer sufficiently severe injury as to require medical attention, you can file a report of the attack with the town or city where the injury took place.
A report of a dog bite should include the following information:
- The date, time, and place where the attack occurred
- The name(s) and address(es) of the persons injured in the attack
- A description or statement of the attack
Once a local municipality receives a report of a dog attack resulting in injury, the municipality must, within seven days, conduct an investigation and hold a hearing on the complaint. If the owner of the offending dog can be identified, the owner must be provided with written notice of the date and time of the hearing and the facts being asserted in the complaint.
At the hearing, municipal officers must determine whether the dog bit or attacked the victim or victims without provocation. If the dog is found to have bitten or attacked the victim without provocation, the municipality can issue orders as it deems necessary for the protection of the victim or victims and the general public, including ordering the offending dog be chained, confined, muzzled, or put down.
A dog owner who fails to comply with this order can be subjected to penalties. The municipal officers must also determine if there is reason to suspect that the offending dog has rabies and take action as appropriate.
If a municipality finds that a domestic dog has bitten someone without provocation, that report can be used as evidence of negligence if the dog bites or attack someone again in the future.
Vermont Dog Leash Laws
Vermont does not have a statewide leash law that requires all dogs to be on a leash while in public. State law does require owners to register their dogs and renew their registration annually.
However, many towns and cities do have ordinances that require dogs to either be leashed at all times while in public, or at the very least within sight and under the verbal or non-verbal command of an owner in possession of a leash.
Understand Your Rights Under Vermont Dog Bite Laws
Under Vermont’s statute of limitations, you typically have three years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the losses and damages you’ve incurred due to your dog bite injury. For minor children injured by a dog bite, the three-year statute of limitations begins on their 18th birthday.
If you don’t file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, the court will almost definitely dismiss your case and bar your claim forever. For that reason, it helps to act quickly in investigating and pursuing your claim for compensation so that you don’t lose out on your right to recovery.
When you’ve been seriously hurt by a dog bite to the point that you require medical attention, you may be entitled to pursue financial compensation for the damages you’ve suffered, including:
- ER, hospital, or urgent care clinic visits
- Surgeries and other medical procedures
- Prescription medication to treat pain or infections
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Lost wages or income for the time you miss from work while recovering from injuries
- Lost earning capacity, if your injuries leave you with disabilities that prevent you from working to your full capacity or potential
- Pain and suffering, including physical anguish or emotional or mental distress caused by your attack and injuries, including PTSD or a newly developed phobia of dogs
- Loss of quality of life, as may be caused by disabilities or physical disfigurement left by your injuries
If you have been the victim of injuries inflicted by someone else’s dog, you may be entitled to fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Get a free consultation with a Vermont dog bite attorney from Lynch Legal Services, PLLC, today to discuss your case and how Vermont’s dog bit laws apply to your situation.