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Dog Bites In Iowa

Ed Cox Jan. 13, 2023

Sometimes man's best friend can quickly become his worst enemy. Dog bites are painful, traumatic, and costly. Children typically fall victim to dog bites more than adults. Permanent scars, deadly infection, muscle damage, tissue damage, disfigurement, and emotional issues all can result from a dog bite. Often, dog bites are inflicted by dogs owned by the victim's family or friends. This may make a victim cautious of filing a lawsuit. Dog bite claims may be worth as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is important to consult an experienced attorney when you have been bitten by a dog in order to receive compensation.

Iowa (Iowa Code Ann. § 351.28 (West)) holds dog owners (regardless of the breed) strictly liable for all damages from their dogs' bites. Strict liability means that a victim only must prove that the bite occurred, and that the defendant's dog is responsible. The bite victim does not have to prove that the defendant was negligent or acting with a purpose to harm the victim.

 In Iowa, a dog owner is liable when the dog is attacking or harassing livestock or attacking or attempting to bite a person unless the victim of the dog bite is engaged in an unlawful act, directly contributing to the injury. If the dog has rabies, the dog owner might have a defense and the dog owner is not strictly liable for its damages unless the owner had reasonable grounds to believe the dog had rabies and a reasonable effort would have prevented the injury.

While the state of Iowa does not have a state-wide leash law, it is important to note that municipalities have the power to create leash laws and many municipalities have enacted such laws. Leash laws, where enacted, may impose even more liability on dog owners.

Dog bites can present unique factual scenarios and every dog bite case is different. It is important to consult a lawyer to receive the proper compensation you deserve after a traumatic dog bite. We have offices in Centerville and Bloomfield with attorneys licensed in both Iowa and Missouri ready to fight for your proper compensation!

What To Do Immediately Following A Dog Bite

  1. Seek medical attention.

  2. Notify the police

  3. Obtain the name and address of the dog owner.

  4. Obtain the name and information of any eyewitnesses to the dog bite.

  5. Record the name and breed of the dog.

  6. Record the color of the dog and any of its unique markings.

  7. Record the approximate size of the dog.