Legal Memorandum: Injuries Caused by a Dog on Highway

Issue: Liability for Injuries to Motorist Caused by Dog on Highway

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Dog on the highway; Liability for injuries; Duty of "owner or keeper of livestock"
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 785 N.Y.S.2d 228; 888 P.2d 1244; 594 N.Y.S.2d 913; 256 S.E.2d 151; 573 N.E.2d 472; 658 So. 2d 381; 668 N.Y.S.2d 743; 461 N.E.2d 1159; 714 N.Y.S.2d 838; 764 N.Y.S.2d 736; 177 A.2d 240; 330 S.E.2d 293
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 518
Date: 11/01/2005

  Wright v. Shedd, 122 Vt. 475, 177 A.2d 240 (1962) (action for damage to vehicle after collision with horse on highway at night; directed verdict for owner reversed; opinion addresses duty of "owner or keeper of livestock," but principle might extend to dogs as well)

Long before the advent of motor vehicles, this Court recognized the danger from the presence of animals, unattended and unrestrained on a public highway at night and indicated that such circumstances might well be the source of liability.  Under modern traffic conditions the peril to persons lawfully traveling the public thoroughfares by motor vehicle is substantially aggravated and entirely obvious.  In consequence, the owner or keeper of livestock capable of doing harm from this source of danger owes a duty of reasonable care to prevent them from wandering unrestrained on the public way.  This is consistent with general considerations of tort liability.

Id. at 478, 177 A.2d at 242 (citations omitted).

Hansen v. Perez, 785 N.Y.S.2d 228 (App. Div. 2004) (motorcyclist sued dog owner after colliding with dog; summary judgment for owners because plaintiff did not present evidence that owners had actual or constructive notice that dog had a "propensity to interfere with vehicular traffic")

Potter v. Zimber, 764 N.Y.S.2d 736 (App. Div. 2003) (reversing summary judgment for owner because owner’s affidavit focused on dog’s gentleness rather than on whether she interfered with traffic; motorcyclist sued for personal injuries)

Berg v. […]

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