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NEW MEXICO DOG BITE CLAIM

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NEW MEXICO DOG BITE CLAIM

November 24, 2023

New Mexico Dog Bite Liability

New Mexico law recognizes the one-bite rule. This means that before the owner of the dog can be held liable, the dog must have one prior incident for aggressively biting someone. Of course, the one-bite rule is not exclusive in deciding whether an owner is liable.

New Mexico Dog Bite Liability: Uniform Jury Instruction and Case Law. As an experienced dog bite attorney, I have a complete understanding of the New Mexico case law and Uniform Jury Instruction. This is very important in order to satisfactorily handle your dog bite case.

New Mexico does not have a statute concerning dog liability. New Mexico has a Uniform Jury Instruction which states that the owner of a dog is liable for damages caused by the dog if the owner knew or should have known that the dog was vicious or had a tendency or natural inclination to be vicious.

Smith vs. the Village of Ruidoso, 994P 2nd 2d50. This case spells out the exception to the Uniform Jury Instruction to a dog-bite liability UJI13-506. In New Mexico, the court rules that the knowledge requirement is not a negligent instruction but could be used for strict liability on the part of the dog owner. This means that if the dog owner knew of the dog’s dangerous propensities, the owner is strictly liable to the dog-bite victim rather than merely negligent. Negligence happens when the owner of the dog has a general knowledge of the way his dog behaves, fails to adequately confine his dog or prevent an injury. The Court found that negligence requires a separate jury instruction from strict liability.

What are the types of compensation? Economic Damages This includes past and future medical costs, including cosmetic treatment of scars, loss of income, loss of ability to earn income, damaged possessions, psychological treatment costs, and other costs related to the dog bite.

Non-economic Damages This includes pain and suffering from the injury, mental anguish, scarring, and other traumatic effects involving your life.

Punitive damages The aggressive dog’s owner knew that the dog was violent but let the dog socialize with people anyway. Punitive damages may be collected.

A dog bite problem in the U.S. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are about 4.5 million dog bites per year in the United States. This is equivalent to 1 in 5 of these which require medical attention, and most of the bites are done by dogs who had not been spayed or neutered.

Why do dogs bite people? There are several instances that can excite dogs to bite a human.

  1. Stressful situations
  2. Feeling scared or threatened
  3. Feeling the need to protect themselves, their owners, or their puppies
  4. Past abuse

Regardless of why the dog might have bitten a person. If you have been bitten by a dog without provocation, you are entitled to substantial compensation. If you are bitten by a dog, here are some helpful steps:

  1. Obtain the attacking dog’s proof of rabies vaccination.
  2. Obtain the dog owner’s contact information, including homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
  3. Collect the contact information of witnesses and whoever had custody of the dog during the incident.
  4. Seek medical attention to treat the wound.
  5. Take pictures of the wound.
  6. Report the incident to the police.
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