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Honolulu Dog Bite Lawyer

Helping the Seriously Injured

Every year, thousands of people suffer dog bite injuries. There are almost five million dog bites a year, 800,000 of which require medical treatment. Children are most often the victims of dog bites and suffer the most severe injuries.

In Hawaii, the owner of an animal will be held liable if it can be shown that the owner knew or should have known the animal had "dangerous propensities."

Specifically, Hawaii Revised Stature§ 663-9, entitled “Liability of animal owners” provides:

  • The owner or harborer of an animal, if the
    animal proximately causes either personal or property damage to any person, shall be liable in damages to the person injured regardless of the animal owner's or harborer's lack of scienter of the vicious or dangerous propensities of the animal.
  • The owner or harborer of an animal which is known by its species or nature to be dangerous, wild, or vicious, if the animal proximately causes either personal or property damage to any person, shall be absolutely liable for such damage.

Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Under HRS §663.9, anyone suffering injury caused by an animal must still prove negligence on the part of the animal’s owner or harborer in order to make the owner or harborer liable for the injury. The general rule with respect to all landowners in Hawaii is that a possessor of land, who knows or should have known of an unreasonable risk of harm posed to persons using the land, by a condition on the land, owes a duty to persons using the land to take reasonable steps to eliminate the unreasonable risk, or warn the users against it. The focus should be on whether the condition imposed an unreasonable risk of harm not on whether the condition on the land was “unreasonably dangerous”.

The Hawaii Supreme Court reaffirmed that under Hawaii law, a possessor of land, who knows or should have known of an unreasonable risk of harm posed to persons using the land, by a condition on the land, owes a duty to the persons using the land to take reasonable steps to eliminate the unreasonable risk, or to warn the users against it. The majority rule is that landlords are responsible for attacks by dogs where the landlord is aware of a dangerous animal’s presence on the property, and the landlord has the ability to remove the animal.

A Dog’s Propensity for Dangerousness & Viciousness Runs with Its Breed

Under Hawaii law, an owner or keeper of a domestic animal is bound to take notice of the general propensities of the class to which it belongs and also of any particular propensities peculiar to the animal itself of which he has knowledge or it put on notice; and insofar as such propensities are of a nature likely to cause injury he must exercise reasonable care to guard against them and to prevent injuries which are reasonably anticipated from them.

In this respect, a vicious or dangerous disposition or propensity may consist of mere mischievousness or playfulness of the animal, which, because of its size or nature, might lead to injury, for it is the act of the animal, rather than its state of mind, which charges the owner or keeper with liability. Under Hawaii law, an animal owner/harborer is legally responsible for injuries and damages proximately caused by the animal.

Seriously Injured? Call (808) 400-7248.

If you or a loved one has been severely injured by a dog bite or attack, it is important you seek legal help. Our Honolulu dog bite attorney handles serious or fatal attack cases, ensuring that clients get the representation they need to seek full and fair compensation.

Contact the Daniel T. Pagliarini Attorney at Law to schedule a free initial consultation.

What Makes Attorney Dan
Pagliarini Different?

  • Island Values, Aggressive Representation
  • 25+ Years Experience in Injury Law
  • Not Afraid of Litigation
  • Straightforward Communication
  • You Pay Us Nothing Unless We Win
  • Direct Attention from the Attorney