Hawaii Dog Bite Law: 4 Important Details You Should Know

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Hawaii Dog Bite Law

Are you familiar with the Hawaii dog bite law?

Dog owners are liable for the injuries caused by their pets in most situations. And unfortunately, dog bite cases are filed quite often in the state of Hawaii.

Knowing your rights and obligations is always recommended. Whether you’re a dog owner or a victim of a dog attack, you should know more about the Hawaii dog bite law and how it can help or affect you.

Do you know the state’s limits for filing injury claims? Are you familiar with the defenses available for dog owners being sued?

Keep reading to learn more about the specifics of the Hawaii dog bite law.

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Hawaii dog bite lawsuits must generally be initiated within two years after the attack

A dog bite or dog attack victim must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the injury.

The Hawaii dog bite law states that, even if you are rightfully entitled to compensation, waiting more than 2 years to take action will automatically result in the dismissal of your case.

If you plan to pursue your rights via a lawsuit, you must contact a personal injury lawyer and file your case within the time limit imposed by the law. Otherwise, you will lose the right to be compensated for your injuries.

Hawaii is a “one bite state”

Hawaii dog bite law enforces the “one bite rule”.

The one bite rule in Hawaii states that “The owner or harborer of an animal, if the animal proximately causes either personal or property damage to any person, shall be liable in damages to the person injured regardless of the animal owner’s or harborer’s lack of scienter of the vicious or dangerous propensities of the animal.” HRS 663-9. In other words, an owner or holder of a dog is liable for the dog biting you even if the owner or holder has no knowledge of the chances of the dog biting someone.

Further, the species of the dog affects whether the owner or holder could be liable. HRS 663-9(b). Pit bulls are considered “species or nature to be dangerous, wild, or vicious,” meaning an owner or holder can be “absolutely liable” for damages the dog causes.

However, the owner or holder generally won’t be liable if (1) you were trespassing, (2) the dog bit you because it was “teased, tormented, or otherwise abused without the negligence, direction, or involvement of the owner or harborer,” or (3) the dog was defending itself or another.

Pets can sometimes be unpredictable and even the most gentle dogs can inflict injuries. And if you were attacked by a dog that is usually harmless, you should look for a good personal injury lawyer who is motivated to prove liability under the one bite statute.

When can you sue, under the Hawaii dog bite law?

Aside from having a time frame to sue, you should know that the Hawaii dog bite law specifies 3 particular cases when a lawsuit can be filed.

A dog owner is liable for injuries caused by their pet if they are clearly inflicted by a dog, if the victim was not trespassing the moment they were attacked and if the injured person did not intentionally provoke the dog.

In addition, the Hawaii dog bite law allows victims to sue based on negligence. If a dog owner fails to provide the necessary safety measures to prevent the dog from attacking, they can be sued if their pet causes an injury.

How can dog owners defend themselves in case of a lawsuit

Dog owners in Hawaii have the right to defend themselves in case of a lawsuit.

If the victim was trespassing or has provoked the dog in any way, dog owners have the right to defend their rights. A pet owner cannot be held responsible for the injuries caused by their dog if it attacked to defend its territory or was teased or harassed by the victim.

Knowing more about the Hawaii dog bite law can help. Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney today if you need to find out more details.