Every state, including the Ocean State, has its own set of laws pertaining to dog bites. The Rhode Island Statute 4-13-16 is below:

  • 4-13-16  Action for damages to animals – Double damages on second recovery – Destruction of offending dog. – If any dog kills, wounds, worries, or assists in killing, wounding or worrying, any sheep, lamb, cattle, horse, hog, swine, fowl, or other domestic animal belonging to or in the possession of any person, or assaults, bites, or otherwise injures any person while traveling the highway or out of the enclosure of the owner or keeper of that dog, the owner or keeper of the dog shall be liable to the person aggrieved, for all damage sustained, to be recovered in a civil action, with costs of suit. If afterwards any such damage is done by that dog, the owner or keeper of the dog shall pay to the party aggrieved double the damage, to be recovered in the manner set forth and an order shall be made by the court before whom that second recovery is made, for killing the dog. The order shall be executed by the officer charged with the execution of the order, and it shall not be necessary, in order to sustain this action, to prove that the owner or keeper of the dog knew that the dog was accustomed to causing this damage. 

The dog bite statute of Rhode Island provides for strict liability unless the dog was within its owner’s enclosed area. This statute applies not only to dog bites, but any injuries caused by the dog. If the dog bite occurs outside of the owner’s enclosure, the owner of that dog is responsible for all damages sustained by the person. If the dog bite takes place inside the owner’s enclosure, then strict liability does not apply.

Rhode Island’s “One Bite” Rule

If a dog bite occurs within the dog’s enclosure, the “one bite” rule becomes pertinent. If a dog has not previously bitten or attacked someone while in its enclosure, the owner usually will not be held liable for damages. However, if the injured person can prove that the owner had knowledge that the dog was dangerous or hostile to other people before the bite occurs, the owner will be held liable.

What Types of Permanent Injury Can a Dog Bite Cause?

A dog bite can impact the rest of your life. Permanent injuries that can be sustained include:

  • Disfigurement
  • Hand and wrist mobility and function
  • Amputations
  • Abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Punctures
  • Infections
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Crushing injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis

Compensation in dog bite cases run the spectrum. Your compensation will depend on where your injury is on your body and on how long it takes to heal. Bites to the face and neck are extremely serious. Not just from a medical perspective but from a legal perspective. Contact our experienced Rhode Island and Massachusetts dog bite attorneys today. We will not settle your case until your scar is at an end result. No lawyer should. Once your scar is at an end result we will have it evaluated. The extent of the scarring is only one aspect of your compensation, however, it is a significant one. That is because you have to live with this scar for the rest of your life. You are also legally entitled to compensation for the pain you endured and the trauma of the event as well as any lost wages and medical expenses.