If you were bitten by a dog, then you might be able to successfully file a lawsuit. Before committing to a lawsuit, you need to make sure that you understand the laws in your state that will affect your suit. Your injury might be the grounds for an easy win in one state, but it might be thrown out of court immediately in another state. To help you make sure that a lawsuit is the right option for you, here are some of the laws that will affect a dog bite lawsuit in Oregon:
The One Bite Rule
One of the most important ideas to understand is the one bite rule, which states that the owner is not responsible for the first act of aggression by their dog. In other words, you cannot sue the owner if you were bitten by their dog and they had no reason to suspect that their dog would act aggressively.
Oregon does abide by this rule, so you need to make sure that your lawsuit is strong before proceeding. If the defense can prove that their dog had never bitten anyone before, then you will need to supply evidence that will prove otherwise.
Trespassing and Provocation
Your lawsuit will likely fail if you were trespassing at the time of the bite or if you provoked the dog in question. If you fit either of these criteria, then you need to think about whether a lawsuit is the right course of action. You could end up spending a lot of time and money on your lawsuit, only to realize that you never had a chance of winning in the first place.
The Statute of Limitations
Dog bites fall into the personal injury category, which means that you have 2 years to file your lawsuit in Oregon. Dog bites are a little more straightforward than other types of injuries, which likely means that you cannot get an extension. The injuries from a dog bite will generally be immediately noticeable, so you can't really claim that you discovered your injuries long after the bite actually happened.
There is a key exception though, and that is when a minor was the victim. Minors cannot file lawsuits on their own behalf, so they may need to wait until they legally become an adult to file. If you were a minor at the time of the bite, then you can likely get 2 years to file from the date that you become an adult.
Of course, a lawsuit could also be filed on behalf of the minor by a parent or guardian long before the victim turns 18. In that case, the exact statute of limitations can get pretty tricky, so you might want to talk to a lawyer to figure out how much time you really have. To learn more, contact a law firm like Elliott & MacLean LLP.