Kansas has been using the “one bite rule” since 1897. A dog bite victim who is injured in Kansas must prove either that the dog owner had knowledge the dog was dangerous or that the dog owner was somehow otherwise negligent.
Even in cases where the defendant is liable, Kansas courts will apply principles of comparative fault, measuring the plaintiff’s fault (if any) against that of the defendant.
The “one bite rule” allows a person who owns a dog to assume, until there is some concrete indication to the contrary, that the dog isn’t dangerous. But an owner who knows a dog poses a particular kind of risk to people must take action to prevent the foreseeable injury – or be prepared to pay for it.
It’s true that if a dog bites someone, its owner is definitely on notice that the dog is dangerous; but less serious behavior can also trigger liability. For example, if a dog has a history of growling or snapping at people, the owner should know that the dog may cause injury. If the dog does hurt someone, the owner will be liable, even for the first bite.
Also, if a dog has a tendency to jump up and knock others over, an owner may be liable for resulting injuries. Factors to be taken into consideration when deciding if a dog owner is liable include:
In other situations an owner may be liable for their dog if the owner was negligent. Examples would include where the owner allows a dog to run after someone and that person is injured either falling from a bike or otherwise trying to flee. The ultimate question is whether the owner acted “reasonably” under the circumstances.