In the United States, there are 4.5 million dog bites reported each year. If you’ve ever been injured in an accident, you know how hard recovery can be. For those who have been attacked by a dog, there’s a unique kind of trauma that accompanies your injuries. If you’re in the Maui, Hawaii, area and would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about a dog bite you or a loved one has sustained, call us today. These cases deserve to be handled by professionals, and at Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, we can help you pursue the fair compensation that you’re rightfully owed.



Hawaii Dog Bite Law

All states have laws on the books that hold owners responsible for injuries their dogs inflict on others. Hawaii’s dog bite law operates under a “one-bite rule,” though in practice the state enforces what’s closer to a “strict liability” model. In a traditional one-bite state, a dog is allowed “one free bite” if the owner had no indication or warning that the dog had any proclivity to dangerous behavior. There are many exceptions to this, but these laws are generally meant to show initial leniency to otherwise harmless dogs and their owners.

And, even though Hawaii is nominally a one-bite state, an owner can still be held liable if their dog bites and injures someone else, even if they had no previous knowledge that their dog might attack someone. This means that an owner can be found negligent under a number of scenarios; however, some exceptions apply. For example, the owner may not be held liable if the injured party was trespassing on their property when the attack occurred, if the victim abused or tormented your dog, or if the dog was defending itself. 

As with most personal injury cases, it can sometimes be difficult to prove exactly what happened in the moments leading up to an accident, especially if there were no other witnesses. And, whether you just need to consult with an attorney briefly or work closely with one of our attorneys for the duration of your claim, we can help you understand how your circumstances affect your cases and set you up to make an informed decision about pursuing compensation. 

Liability in a Dog Bite Case

In any dog bite case, you’ll need to establish liability. In Hawaii, this generally means that if the victim wasn’t trespassing and did not provoke the dog, and the injuries sustained can be directly linked to the attack, they can try to pin liability on the owner. 

You may also be able to pursue a liability lawsuit based on negligence. For these cases, negligence means that the owner of the dog failed to provide ordinary care and did not contain their dog (either in a fenced yard or on a leash, for example), and because of this, someone was bitten by the dog. This can sometimes be categorized under the state’s premises liability laws because the owner has created an unsafe condition on their property in which someone else could sustain an injury. 

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Hawaii law states that you only have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim, and while this may seem like a long amount of time, it can pass by quickly. After a dog bite, you’ll naturally want to take care of your own needs and recover from the incident both physically and emotionally, but if you’ve sustained a serious bodily injury, you should start the claims process as soon as possible. Our team of lawyers can help investigate your attack, find and organize evidence, and help you build a strong case. 

The damages you can seek will be dependent on your specific situation but may include medical treatment, pain and suffering, counseling services, lost wages, and scarring or disfigurement. It’s extremely important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t think your injuries are that serious. Only a trained medical expert can adequately assess the damages. 

Furthermore, it’s also essential that you attend all follow-up visits with your provider or any specialists. In many cases, the injuries from dog bites can take a long time to heal properly and may require reconstructive surgery. You should have a clear idea of all your expenses related to the attack, including future medical care. By doing this, you’ll be in a better position to cover your financial needs.


At Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, we’re committed to listening attentively to your story, working collaboratively to come up with an action plan you feel comfortable with, and providing you with tools and support so you can make the best decision for you and your family. No one should have to go through this traumatic event on their own. Call us today at our Maui, Hawaii, offices to schedule an initial consultation.