Dog Bites

Oregon Dog Bite Lawyer Jennie Clark

Fortunately, most Oregon counties and cities have dog bite laws that allow for strict liability under certain circumstances, such as when a dog is off leash and not on the owner’s property or in a designated off-leash dog park. Otherwise, Oregon Statutes located at ORS 609 and Oregon common law apply. In absence of an applicable statute, a one-bite-rule could apply, meaning that the owner is not considered negligent unless the dog has previously bitten someone or the owner had reason to know the dog was dangerous.

What am I entitled to if I am bitten by a dog?  If you are bitten by a dog and the dog owner is liable, you are entitled to the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Non-economic damages
    • pain and suffering
    • Inconvenience
  • Lost income as a result of the Dog bite
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Substitute Domestic Services
  • Property damage, such as torn clothing.
  • Punitive damages (in some cases if the dog owner’s behavior was egregious enough)

What if the dog owner doesn’t have any money?  Unfortunately, there are many dog bite cases where liability could easily be proven but are not worth pursuing because the dog owner is indigent.  If a homeless person’s pit bull attacked you, it is unlikely that you will be able to collect, even if you win.  Some counties have a victim’s assistance fund, if the district attorney’s office accepts your case for criminal prosecution.

What types of dog bite cases are worth pursuing?  Hopefully, you were bitten by a dog whose owner has assets, such as a home.  Many homeowners have insurance policies that cover dog bites.  Some renters also have policies that cover dog bites.  Many dog owners are happy to let their insurance company handle the situation if their dog bites someone.

What is my claim worth?  Each case is individually evaluated.  I use the following factors and possibly other factors to determine the value of your case:

  • Severity of the bite

  • Location of the bite

  • Permanency of the bite

  • Whether scar revision is possible

  • Amount of past medical bills

  • Amount of any identifiable future medical bills

  • Past lost wages and any future wage loss

  • The inability to perform any activities due to the bite

  • Amount of recovery time

  • The likelihood of collecting if we win

  • The difficulty of collecting if we win

How does a client pay your legal fees?  I handle most dog-bite cases on a contingency fee basis.  This means that you do not owe me for my attorney fees unless I recover money for you.  My fee percentage is lower if you forward the costs of litigation.  If a case is too risky, I may still be willing to handle it on an hourly basis.  Please call me at (503) 238-1010 for a case evaluation.

What should you do if you are bitten by a dog?  If you are bitten by a dog:

  • Seek appropriate medical attention.

  • Write down a description of the dog, including the breed.

  • Find out the name, address and phone number of the dog owner and/or who was in control of the dog at the time of the bite.

  • Obtain name, address and phone number of any witnesses, along with alternate contact information.  Witnesses include those who saw the dog bite you but also witnesses that saw the dog bite anyone else.

  • Take photographs of the injury.

  • Call me at (503) 238-1010, preferably before you give a statement to any insurance agency.

  • Report the incident to the animal control agency in your county and/or the police.  If the dog has previously bitten someone, I would also make a police report and ask to press charges.  Occasionally, an owner of a known dangerous dog that has bitten before is criminally prosecuted by the district attorney’s office.

    Multnomah County Animal Control:

    Clackamas County Animal Control:
    Phone: (503) 655-8628
    Emergency Phone: (503) 655-8211

    Washington County Animal Control:
    Phone:  503-846-7041

    Linn County Dog Control:

    Lane County Animal Control:

    Marion County Dog Control:
    If you live anywhere in Marion County, except in the cities of Stayton, Sublimity, and Woodburn, call Dog Control at 503-588-5366, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  If you live in Stayton or Sublimity, call 503-769-3421, or in Woodburn, call 503-982-2345.

    Deschutes County Animal Control:
    City of Bend Animal Control 693-6911
    City of Redmond Animal Control 693-6911
    Deschutes County Animal Control 693-6911

Below are the locations of the statutes of various dog bite statutes around the state. 

  • Multnomah County Dog Bites Cities include:  Fairview, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Maywood Park, Portland, Troutdale, Woodvillage

  • Clackamas County Dog Bites Cities include:  Barlow, Canby, Damascus, Estacada, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Johnson City, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Molalla, Oregon City, Portland, Rivergrove, Sandy, Tualatin, West Linn, Wilsonville

  • Washington County Dog Bites  Cities include:  Banks, Beaverton, Cornelius, Durham, Forest Grove, Gaston, Hillsboro, King City, Lake Oswego, North Plains, Portland, Rivergrove, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin, Wilsonville

  • Linn County Dog Bites  Cities include:  Albany (also in Benton County), Brownsville, Gates, Halsey, Harrisburg, Idanha (also in Marion County),
    Lebanon, Lyons, Mill City, Millersburg, Scio, Sodaville, Sweet Home,
    Tangent, Waterloo

  • Lane County Dog Bites  Cities include:  Coburg, Cottage Grove, Creswell,
    Dunes City, Eugene, Florence, Junction City, Lowell, Oakridge, Springfield, Veneta, Westfir

  • Marion County Dog Bites  Cities include:  Aumsville, Aurora, Detroit, Donald
    Gates (also in Linn County), Gervais, Hubbard, Idanha (also in Linn County), Jefferson, Keizer, Mount Angel, St. Paul, Salem, Scotts Mills, Silverton, Stayton, Sublimity, Turner, Woodburn

  • Benton County Dog Bites

  • Deschutes County Dog Bites