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Montana’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Law

When a dog bites somebody and causes an injury, the victim may be able to recover compensation from the dog’s owner. Montana is a strict liability dog bite state. This means dog owners are typically held liable for any damages caused by their dog’s biting somebody else. Here, we want to examine the strict liability dog bite law in Montana, and we encourage you to contact an attorney if you have been harmed. You may be able to receive compensation.

What the Law Says

Montana’s strict liability law for dog bites means that the owner of a dog is liable for any injuries caused by their dog biting someone else, regardless of the dog’s prior behavior or the owner’s knowledge of any aggressive tendencies. This is outlined in Montana Code Annotated § 27-1-715, which states that a dog owner is liable for damages if the person bitten was in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the dog owner’s property, at the time of the bite.

This law applies even if the dog has never shown any signs of aggression or if the owner had taken reasonably expected precautions to prevent the dog from biting. The only exceptions to this law are if the person bitten was trespassing on private property or if the dog was provoked or defending its owner from an attack.

Most Common Types of Compensation Dog Bite Victims Receive

Victims of dog bites in Montana may be entitled to certain economic and non-economic damages, depending on the severity of the injury and the circumstances of the case. Common types of compensation include:

  • Medical expenses. This covers all costs related to treating the injury, such as emergency room visits, surgeries, medications, and ongoing medical care.
  • Lost wages. If the dog bite victim is unable to work because of the injury, they can claim compensation for any income lost during their recovery period.
  • Pain and suffering. This compensation addresses the physical pain and psychological/emotional distress caused by the dog bite. The amount awarded can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury and its impact on the victim’s quality of life.
  • Property damage. If the victim’s personal property was damaged during the incident, they might be able to recover the costs of repair or replacement.
  • Scarring and disfigurement. Dog bites can cause significant scarring or disfigurement, and victims may receive compensation for the long-term impact on their appearance and self-esteem.

When Does the Claim Need to Get Filed?

In Montana, the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite injury claim is typically three years from the date of the incident. You’ll need to file the claim within this period to ensure that the right to seek compensation is preserved. Failing to do so can result in the loss of the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault dog owner.

However, it is advisable to begin the legal process as soon as possible after the incident. This allows for a more thorough collection of evidence and witness statements, which can be critical in proving the case and securing fair compensation.

Should You Call an Attorney?

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Montana, consulting with an experienced dog bite attorney is highly recommended. An attorney can help you navigate the complexities of strict liability laws, gather necessary evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Here are some reasons to consider hiring an attorney:

  • Deep knowledge of dog bite laws. An attorney who specializes in dog bite cases will have a thorough understanding of Montana’s strict liability laws and how they apply to your case.
  • Evidence collection. An attorney can help gather crucial evidence, such as medical records, witness statements, and photographs of the injuries, to build a strong case.
  • Negotiation skills. Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to help you receive fair compensation.

For expert legal guidance on dog bite cases, consider reaching out to Kortum Law Office. Their experienced will provide personalized attention to your case to help you recover the compensation you deserve and will support you through every step of the legal process.

Understanding Montana’s strict liability dog bite law and the compensation available can help victims navigate the aftermath of an incident more effectively. Do not hesitate to contact us to ensure your rights are protected and to help move forward.