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Oregon's Top Lawyer for Dog Attacks and Bites

Dog attacks are unfortunately common in Oregon.  We have a large population of dog owners and not all of them are responsible with their dogs. Many of the dog bite cases we see involve victims who are children or elderly. The injuries can be significantly greater than the bite wounds themselves and often include emotional trauma.   

Holding the dog owner responsible often requires the help of a lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases.  Each Oregon county and city may have their own laws that outline the responsibilities of dog owners. The dog owner may not be willing to provide their home-owner’s insurance information. It can also be a challenge learning whether the dog has a history of aggression.  

Chad Stavley has handled numerous dog bite cases to settlement and verdict. Chad’s recent case involving a child attacked by an “emotional support” pit-bull in the Portland airport was featured on news sites worldwide. Airlines have now changed their rules related to emotional support animals. 

ABC News article
Washington Post article
BBC article

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Oregon Dog Bite Law

Dog bite cases in Oregon generally fall into one of three categories. Each of these categories of cases are treated differently under Oregon dog bite law.

  1. Dog with a history of aggressiveness
  2. Dog with no history but in public location
  3. Dog with no history on private property

The first category of cases involves dogs with a history of bites, attacks, or other aggressive conduct.  If the owner is aware of the prior aggressiveness, then the owner is responsible for any injury that the dog causes no matter how careful they may have been. This is called strict liability.  We investigate every dog bite case to see if it belongs in this category.  We work with animal control to learn everything we can about the dog’s history.  Does the dog have a prior reported bite? We interview neighbors to find out information about the dog.  We even broke a case after interviewing the mailman!   

The second category of cases involve a dog with no history of aggressive conduct but in a public location.  These cases are generally governed by each city or county’s animal control law.  Most counties and cities require dog owners to have their animal leashed or otherwise controlled while in public.  If we can prove that the dog owner violated that law, we can make them responsible for the resulting injuries.  

The third category of cases is the worst category.  In this category the dog has no history of aggressive conduct and the attack happened on private property.  Oregon law gives a break to dog owners in cases in this category.  In these cases, the dog owner is only responsible for the “economic damages” caused by the attack.  Economic damages include things like medical expenses and lost income but do not include damages for non-economic losses that people sometimes call “pain and suffering.”  

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Questions About Dog Bites & Attacks

Are dog bite laws the same across Oregon?

Not exactly. In cases where a dog with no history of aggressiveness bites someone in a public location, we look to the animal control laws of the county and city where the bite occurred.

Can I sue for a dog bite in Portland, OR?

That depends on many factors including whether the dog has a history of aggressive conduct, whether the owner was aware the dog had a history, and where the attack occurred.  Call so that we can discuss whether you have a case.

How long does it take for a dog bite case to resolve?

That really depends on the severity of the injuries, where the attack occurred and whether the owner and their insurance company want to be fair. Some cases can resolve in six months while others can take two years.

What should do if I was bitten by a dog?

Make sure you have the case reported to animal control in your county. Oftentimes the hospital staff will do this. You should call and make sure the case was reported. It is important for your potential case, but it is also important that animal control deal with the dog. It is also important that they file the case so that if the dog bites again, the second victim can find out the dog’s history and hold the owner strictly liable.

Can I get my medical bills paid while this case is getting sorted out?

Sometimes you can get bills paid through the “med-pay” portion of the dog owner’s homeowner’s policy even before the case resolves. Feel free to call me so we can discuss this.

Is my case even worth pursuing if my only long-term damage is scarring?

I have taken a case to trial and received over $300,000 where the only permanent injury was scarring.

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