Dog owners often view their dogs as members of the family and love them unconditionally. However, even the most mild-mannered dog can bite or attack a person, causing serious injury.
Under Hawaiian law, the owner of the dog will be strictly liable for any injuries caused by the dog, even if the owner has no knowledge of the dog's vicious or dangerous propensities. In other words, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before or showed any signs of aggression in the past, the owner will generally be held liable for his or her dog's behavior. The injured party will have two years following the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the dog.
But, there are a couple of situations where a dog owner may not be held liable for a dog bite injury. For example, if the injured person was intentionally provoking the dog, or teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog, without the owner's involvement, the owner will not be held liable. The owner will also not be liable for a dog bite injury if the injured person was trespassing on private property.
In addition to dog owners, property owners or landlords may also be held liable for dog bite injuries if they allowed the animal onto the property. If a dog owner is held liable for the injured party's injuries, they will often have to pay damages to cover the injured party's medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. This will require filing a claim to recover damages for the dog bite injuries in court.