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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Dog Bites / How Does Rhode Island Dog Bite Law Define an ‘Enclosed Area’?

How Does Rhode Island Dog Bite Law Define an ‘Enclosed Area’?


As you may know, unlike dog bite laws in other states, the law in Rhode Island places strict liability on the owner of a dog that bites someone outside of the dog’s “enclosed area.”

But what is that mysterious “enclosed area”? How does Rhode Island dog bite law define the term that prevents victims from obtaining compensation from the dog’s owner?

If you have questions about other aspects of the dog bite law in Rhode Island, consult with a Rhode Island dog bite attorney at Robert E. Craven & Associates.

The ‘Enclosed Area’ Exception in Rhode Island’s Dog Bite Law

In the state of Rhode Island, state laws prevent dog attack victims from recovering damages when a dog bite occurs in the dog’s enclosed area. As demonstrated in previous legal cases, enclosed space can be located anywhere on the dog owner’s property as long as it gives notice that the sector is private.

However, when the dog bite occurs in the enclosed area or elsewhere on the owner’s property, the victim could potentially seek compensation if he or she can prove that the owner of the dog was aware of their pet’s vicious nature.

In other words, Rhode Island follows what is known as the “one-bite rule” that prevents a victim from suing the dog owner if the latter had no prior knowledge of the vicious behavior, and the incident occurred within an enclosed area.

When the victim can demonstrate evidence that the dog was involved in prior attacks and can establish that the incident occurred outside of the dog’s enclosed area, then he or she might get compensated for the resulting damages. In fact, Rhode Island law provides double damages if the dog owner had knowledge of previous attacks and bites.

Strict Liability in Dog Bites in Rhode Island

But what about strict liability in Rhode Island’s dog bite cases? How does it combine with the state law’s “enclosed area” exception? In Rhode Island, strict liability means that the owner of the dog that bit someone else can be held responsible even if the owner took measures to prevent the incident.

For example, if the dog owner secured the dog within the enclosed area and had safety measures in place to prevent potential attacks, the owner is still responsible for the dog bite if the dog is able to break free and escape the enclosed area.

The same can be said about dog bite cases where the dog owner has knowledge of any prior attacks involving his or her canine. Not only does Rhode Island’s dog bite law cover damages related to your personal injury, but also damage to any of your personal property (e.g., smartphone, watch, clothes, car, etc.).

Suing a Dog Owner for a Dog Bite

Under the state’s dog bite law, dog owners can be sued if their canine injures another person or causes damage to their property. The same can be said about incidents that involve one dog injuring or killing another.

Did a dog bite you in Rhode Island? Even if you cannot identify the owner of the dog, seek medical attention right away and then talk to a Rhode Island dog bite attorney. Here at Robert E. Craven & Associates, our personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation. Get your free case evaluation by calling at 401-453-2700.

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