Louisiana often gives animals and their owners the benefit of the doubt in a dog bite situation. Louisiana is a “one-bite state,” which means that an owner has to already know their dog is prone to attacks in order to have financial and legal accountability for a bite.
Usually, this rule means that the animal has to have bitten someone once before. Once an owner knows that their dog is aggressive toward people, they typically have to hang signs on their property warning visitors about their animals.
Will the presence of those signs prevent you from bringing a claim against the animal’s owner if the dog bites you?
Signage cannot completely absolve an owner of responsibility
Hanging up warning signs is only one part of the owner’s obligation when they have an aggressive animal. They should also make an effort to restrain the animal so that it cannot access people and train their dog so it won’t act aggressively if it does get near someone. Just hanging up a sign doesn’t make it okay to let an aggressive dog run free in a yard without a fence or in a house when there is company visiting.
When a visitor ignores warning signs about a dangerous dog bite, that could limit what compensation they receive. The court might declare them partially at fault for the incident and reduce what money they might otherwise receive by whatever percentage of liability they deserve — so it is important to observe the warnings on “beware of dog” signs, but that still doesn’t give the dog’s owner a free pass if you’re bitten in an unprovoked attack.
Knowing the rules about dog bites in Louisiana can help you respond appropriately if you get hurt.