What You Should Know About Dog Bite Injuries And Lawsuits

If you were recently bit by a dog, whether it is a neighbor's dog or a dog at a nearby park, you might be eligible for payments by the owner of the dog. While not necessary in all cases, it is a good idea to look into who is liable for a dog bite and whether or not you should be suing for damages.

Who is liable?

The first thing you need to figure out in a dog bite case is who exactly is liable. To start with, make sure the dog was not provoked either by you or an outside source. If you walked too close to a dog that was already on edge due to a loud siren, you might not win your case. However, if the dog attacked you out of nowhere when you weren't provoking it, the owner could be liable. You also need to determine who owns the dog. It is difficult when you are bit by a stray dog, though some cities will pay rewards for stray dog bites. If it is not a known dog or you can't find the owner, contact animal control to see if they can track the dog down to look for tags or a microchip.

What is the one bite rule?

Some states in the U.S. have the one bite rule, which is where the owner of a dog doesn't pay damages if the dog has only bitten someone one time. You may still get some of your medical costs paid for, but the owner is less liable than if that dog has bitten someone more than once. As soon as an owner's dog has bitten someone or showed other acts of aggression, the owner is then responsible for keeping it away from people. It shows that they were negligent if they let the dog out without supervision and it attacks someone again.

How do you provide evidence?

In a dog bite case, you need to show evidence that you were bit by the dog, the severity of your injuries, and that you were not at fault. The latter can be tricky as you need to show that the owner was negligent and that the dog was not provoked. A dog with a history of being violent to others is a good way to prove it was probably the dog's fault. If there were any witnesses around, that can also help. For your injuries, save all records when seeking medical treatment, including what you paid for co-pays, prescriptions, insurance premiums, procedures, and ambulance costs. These will also be used for evidence, in addition to a note from your doctor about the injuries you sustained.

Should you head to court?

It is a good idea to try and settle a dog bite case out of court first. Start by getting a lawyer to discuss your options. The lawyer will contact the owner of the dog and look over your evidence to let you know which direction is best. Negotiations often allow the owner to pay the amount you are requesting for damages in order to avoid a trial. This saves the dog owner legal costs and helps keep the process as quick and painless as possible. No matter which direction you go, it is recommended that you hire a personal injury attorney with experience dealing with dog bite cases.