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Dog Bite Liability in Iowa


Just a few weeks ago a 15-month-old boy was savagely attacked by a dog that had been adopted only hours before from the Clinton County Humane Society, writes the Quad-City Times. It has been reported that the dog bit off a large portion of the toddler’s face and caused devastating facial injuries that required six hours of emergency surgery. Despite the operating surgeon’s best efforts, doctors note that the boy’s injuries will impact the rest of his life as a large part of his gums, including permanent teeth, were ripped out and that most of his nose cartilage was destroyed. As a result the boy will not have natural upper front teeth and will likely need additional facial surgeries in the future.

But how did such a savage attack occur? Little is known about what provoked this attack, but we do know that the dog has been described by some as a boxer-labrador mix while others claim that it is in fact a pit bull mix. Some activists are pointing to this attack as evidence that pit bull breeds are inherently dangerous, while others are blaming the shelter for allowing a dangerous dog to be adopted out. In any event, the Clinton Police Department investigated the attack and has issued the dog’s owners a citation for having a dangerous dog. Additionally, if the injured boy’s family decides to sue the dog’s owners they would likely have a good case under Iowa’s dog bite law.

Iowa’s Dog Bite Law

While each state has their own dog bite laws, Iowa’s dog bite law (contained in Iowa Code section 351.28) embraces a theory of strict liability and essentially holds dog owners accountable for any injuries caused by their dogs, so long as the injured individual was not committing an unlawful act at the time of the attack that contributed to the injury. In other words, a dog owner in Iowa can generally be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit for injuries that their dog caused so long as the plaintiff (i.e. the injured individual who is suing) was not trespassing or committing some other unlawful act that directly contributed to their injuries. However, dog bite victims in Iowa only have a limited amount of time within which they are allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Iowa’s Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit Statute of Limitations

Iowa’s personal injury statute of limitations provides that injured individuals generally have two years within which they are permitted to file a lawsuit seeking damages for their injuries. This means that a lawsuit stemming from a dog bite injury must be filed within two years of the attack. Failing to abide by this statute of limitations will almost always result in the court refusing to hear your case. Therefore, if you are interested in pursuing a dog bite injury lawsuit in Iowa be sure to contact a local personal injury attorney without delay.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog, consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owners in order to recoup the compensation you are legally entitled to. If the attack occurred in Iowa, feel free to contact the Noyes Law Office P.C. today to discuss your legal options with one of our experienced dog bite attorneys. Don’t wait too long or else your claim may be barred by Iowa’s statute of limitations, schedule a free no obligation consultation at our Fairfield office by calling (641) 472-3236.


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