Depending on which state, putting up warning signs such as “No Trespassing”, “Private Property”, or “Beware of Dogs” may protect you from dog bite liability. This is true even in states that observe “strict liability” like California and Tennessee.
For example, you have a “No Trespassing” followed by a “Beware of Dog” sign strategically placed at the fence post. Your dog is securely confined in your home while a neighbor makes his way to your front yard, uninvited. The incident resulted to your dog biting off one of your neighbor’s fingers. Seeing the warning sign prior to entering the vicinity, the injured party was aware that he’s breaking the law but decided to go in anyway.
In this case, the dog owner may use “trespassing” to his defense. Strict liability states require the injured party to have lawfully entered a residential property to collect damages. But, if the incident occurred in a privately-owned commercial property, the owner is not held liable regardless if warning signs are present.
However, the “trespassing” defense may not apply to children below 5 years of age. Connecticut observes the “child protection exception”. When a child unlawfully enters a property and got bitten by your dog, he/she is still entitled to recovery of damages.
To know what rules apply to your specific location, it’s best to reach out to a local personal injury lawyer who specializes in dog bite cases.