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Dog Bite

dog bite

Dogs are considered man’s best friend. However, sometimes situations can happen—a dog bites a person. When a dog bite happens, a lawsuit may be the next step.

This guide will assist you if you are considering filing a dog bite lawsuit:

What is a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

A dog bite lawsuit is a legal claim brought against the owner of the animal that bit a person. If the dog caused harm, the owner may be legally liable for the damages.

Dog bite legal claims allow the injured party to recover damages for the injuries they sustained. These injuries may include but are not limited to:

  • Skin lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Abrasions
  • Tetanus
  • Nerve damage
  • Rabies
  • Death
  • And more

Who Can Be Held Accountable in a Dog Bit Case?

In the majority of cases regarding dog bites and sustained injuries, the dog’s owner is the main person that can be held accountable. The owner more than likely will have insurance that can be used to repay the damages of the animal bite. The insurance can be homeowner’s, personal, or another form of insurance.

In other circumstances, other people may be responsible for the dog bite in addition to the owner. This can include a landlord. If the landlord knew about the dog and had an awareness that they were either a dangerous breed or showcased aggressive behavior, that person can be added to the lawsuit. It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure the safety of not only their tenants but other people on their property.

What You Must Prove to Win a Dog Bite Lawsuit

In order to win a lawsuit, the plaintiff—or injured party—bears the burden of proof. This means that you must prove the dog bit you and that you in turn sustained an injury from the attack. This can prove that the owner is liable for your injuries and that they must pay you for the damages.

Each case is unique in terms of location, breed of dog, strict liability states, whether or not the dog is known to be aggressive, if you instigated the bite, and additional factors. Discussing the sequence of events and details with a reputable personal injury attorney will answer these questions.

What to Know About One-bite States

One-bite states are the states that exercise common law rule that suggests the owner can be held liable for a dog bite. This situation occurs when the owner knows, or should have known, that the dog could potentially be dangerous to others.

This one-bite rule does not state that this situation occurs only when the dog has bitten a person before. It can occur out of the blue that the dog starts exhibiting agitated or dangerous behaviors. If the owner is aware of these behaviors, they can be held liable in court:

  • Jumping on people
  • Fighting with other dogs or animals
  • Growling at people
  • Barking at people
  • Chasing people
  • Baring their teeth
  • Any complaints about the behavior of their dog by other people

If you happen to reside in a one-bite law state, the only way to easily hold the owner responsible for the injuries is for the owner to have prior awareness of their dog’s bad behavior. If there were no signs, it may be harder for you to prove your case—but not impossible.

Strict Liability States

If you reside in a strict liability state, you may be in more luck with a dog bite lawsuit. Many states have replaced the previous one-bite law rule to enforce harsher penalties and liabilities on dog owners.

In these specific states that fall under the strict liability law, the owner is responsible for the injury no matter what. There does not need to be any previous bite or injury incident nor aggressive behavior or knowledge of aggressive behavior for the dog owner to be responsible for the injury. The owner can be sued in court for negligence of their animal.

In order to prove your case, all you have to show is that you did not instigate the animal and that they still bit you. You must also show considerable injuries to show that you need the money to cover the expenses.

What Expenses You Can Recover

If you win a dog bite case, you can recover compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Loss of work
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Potential future loss of work
  • Wrongful death
  • And more

Defenses of a Dog Bite Case

It is vital to know that the dog owner will fight back. Depending on the situation, they may have a legal defense that reduces the amount of accountability they have to pay for your injuries. If it is found that the owner is not fully responsible for the injuries and the dog attack, your ability to recover damages can be lessened.

In states that enforce contributory negligence, or the percentage of negligence you contributed to the situation that resulted in injury, you could also be at fault. If you are found any percentage at fault, your compensation will be affected. As an example, if the defendant can prove that you instigated the dog, and then they bit you, you will be found partially liable for the injury.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury from a dog bite, it is crucial that you seek medical help. The next step is to contact your local authorities and file an official report documenting the incident. Next, you must hire a team of successful attorneys.

A dog-bite lawyer will defend you and can help get you the compensation that you deserve. Hold the wrongdoers accountable so you can recover. Fill out the form and to discuss the nature of your case.