Last Updated: 9/21/2023
There are two theories of liability for pursuing damages for a dog bite in Iowa: first, the theory of strict liability, second, a negligence-based theory of responsibility. The following takes a look at both, specifically in regard to how a dog’s breed may affect a dog bite claim.
Iowa’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Laws
Iowa primarily imposes a strict liability dog bite law, found under Iowa Code 351.28, which reads that, “the owner of a dog shall be liable to an injured party for all damages done by the dog…” Under this law, the owner of a dog is always held responsible for injuries caused by a dog bite, regardless of dog breed or history of dangerous behavior (the exception to this is if the dog bite victim was doing something illegal at the time of dog attack).
Iowa’s Negligence-based Liability
Under the theory of strict liability, a dog owner is only liable for medical expenses specifically related to the injury. However, a dog bite victim does have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner if they can prove negligence. One example of neglect is failing to restrain a dog that has a known history of aggression or violence. On the same hand, a victim could also argue that it was negligent to harbor a dog declared dangerous or vicious.
While there is no particular state law, multiple cities throughout Iowa have banned, restricted, or labeled as dangerous or vicious certain dog breed types. In Des Moines, for example, Pit Bulls are automatically considered to be vicious; in Sioux City, Pit Bulls are banned entirely. There are special rules and requirements for vicious dogs.
In Cherokee, there is a restriction placed on the following dangerous dog breeds.
- Pit Bulls
- Doberman pinschers
As such, if a person is harboring a dog that is illegal, restricted, or dangerous/vicious, and if this dog bites you, then you may be able to prove negligence in a civil suit. In a negligence-based liability case, damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering are all recoverable.
Learn More about Liability from a Dog Bite Attorney
To learn more about responsibility and how negligence and dog breed plays a role in your dog bite claim, call an attorney. At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our attorneys can help you learn more about different city ordinances regarding breed restrictions, and the process of recovering damages. Set up your free case consultation today by calling (888) 435-9886 now.