Washington State’s “Dog Bite Statute” holds canine house owners strictly responsible for damages brought on by accidents inflicted by their canine. The phrase “strictly liable” implies that the canine proprietor is liable no matter whether or not the proprietor knew in regards to the canine’s harmful propensities and no matter whether or not the proprietor did something fallacious. To impose strict legal responsibility below the legislation, you merely should meet the weather of the statute.However there may be one other foundation to carry a canine proprietor responsible for damages brought on by the canine. In Washington a canine proprietor will also be held responsible for damages below the widespread legislation. On this chapter I clarify what “common law” means and the way a canine proprietor can nonetheless be obligated to pay damages even when the phrases of the “Dog Bite Statute” can’t be met.What Is “Common Law”?In our system of presidency, legal guidelines are normally created in two methods. The primary means is when elected representatives draft a legislation after which enact it. On the state degree, this physique of representatives is known as the “legislature.” The Washington state legislature creates legal guidelines referred to as “statutes.” On the native or metropolis degree, the physique is usually known as the “city council” and it will probably create legal guidelines referred to as “ordinances.” On the county degree these legal guidelines could also be known as “codes.” The “Dog Bite Statute” is an instance of a legislation created by the Washington state legislature.
The second means that legal guidelines may be created is thru the courts. That is additionally known as “judge-made law” or extra precisely, the “common law.” Primarily, the “common law” refers to a physique of legislation that’s created by the choices or opinions of judges. These judge-made choices should be adopted and enforced by the decrease courts, typically known as trial courts. A number one judge-made legislation is sometimes called “precedent” as a result of a decrease courtroom should adjust to the choice and in addition implement it in different instances with comparable reality patterns.The courts are solely permitted to resolve problems with legislation based mostly on the slender set of information earlier than it. The courts can’t make legislation based mostly on hypothetical information. Which means that the widespread legislation can take a few years to develop. Because of this, the widespread legislation could also be created in a patch-work style. At occasions, seemingly inconsistent or contradictory legal guidelines may be reached by two completely different courts when the information of the case are practically equivalent or comparable. The appliance of the widespread legislation may be a lot much less predictable because the information giving rise to the legal guidelines could also be barely completely different in subsequent instances. The existence of a brand new reality or the omission of a small reality in a brand new case can provide rise to new exceptions or adjustments within the widespread legislation addressing that exact problem.
You will need to perceive that the state legislature can enact a legislation that overrules or adjustments the widespread legislation on a selected topic. This could solely happen if the legislature’s legislation is decided to be constitutional, which is a query left as much as the courts. For instance, by enacting the “Dog Bite Statute,” the Washington state legislature basically supplemented or added to the widespread legislation by creating a brand new reason for motion so long as the weather of the statute are met.In Washington, there’s a physique of judge-made legislation (or widespread legislation) that has been created through the years with respect to legal responsibility of canine house owners for accidents or damages inflicted by their canine. The “common law” legal responsibility of canine house owners is extra totally defined under.