Dogs are a common pet that can be found in most neighborhoods and apartments. Many are outgoing and lovable, making affable companions. A few dogs, for various reasons, have to potential to lash out in sudden aggressive acts causing injury and harm.
The law for dog bites in New Mexico is based on rulings by the court on accounts of negligence or knowledge of the dog’s nature. Through previous court rulings, victims of dog bites can receive compensation for their injuries.
The technical term used by the courts is called scienter, the Latin word for knowledge. When a dog causes an injury, it is preposterous for the court to find the dog liable to make reparations or otherwise carry the consequence for its actions. Therefore, if the owner had knowledge of or should have known their dog had a violent tendency, they are responsible for the dog’s actions.
However, this means a compelling argument must be conveyed as to how or why the owner should have known about or suspected the violent nature of the animal. If the owner of the dog can convince a jury that they had no knowledge their dog would behave in such a manner, no liability may be awarded.
While liability may not apply, negligence very well may. New Mexico can hold the owner of the dog guilty of negligence, of not exercising proper control over an animal in a situation where one could reasonably assume injury can occur. The owner of a dog may be held liable for the dog’s actions regardless on whether the owner knew of the dog’s nature or could have assumed as much.
Where scienter, or knowledge, claims may fail. It is possible to gain reparations for a dog bite under negligence charges.