Dog Owners are Strictly Liable in Part for Injuries Caused When Their Dog Bites Someone

If you have been injured by a dog bite, you can recover your economic damages without having to prove that the owner should have known the dog would bite, as long as the dog was not provoked to attack. ORS 31.360 states as follows:

“(l) For the purpose of establishing a claim for economic damages, as defined in ORS 31.710, in an action arising from an injury caused by a dog:
(a) The plaintiff need not prove that the owner of the dog could foresee that the dog would cause the injury; and
(b) The owner of the dog may not assert as a defense that the owner could not foresee that the dog would cause the injury.
(2) This section does not prevent the owner of a dog that caused an injury from asserting that the dog was provoked, or from asserting any other defense that may be available to the owner.”

“Economic Damages”, are defined in ORS 31.7l0 as objectively verifiable monetary losses, including but not limited to:

1. Reasonable charges necessarily incurred for medical, hospital, nursing and rehabilitative services and other health care services, burial and memorial expenses;
2. Loss of Income;
3. Past and future impairment of earning capacity;
4. Reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for substitute domestic services;
5. Recurring loss to an estate;
6. Damage to reputation that is economically verifiable;
7. Reasonable and necessarily incurred costs due to loss of use of property; and reasonable costs incurred for repair or for replacement of damaged property whichever is less.

In order to recover non-economic damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress, the claimant still needs to prove that the person who owned or controlled the dog had reason to know the dog would bite.