dog bite lawyer

Liability In Dog Bite Cases

Dog bites can range from minor incidents to severe attacks, potentially causing significant physical and emotional injuries. For victims of dog bites, it’s important to understand how liability is determined – and what legal options are available for seeking compensation.

Determining Liability

The main question in dog bite cases is: Who is liable? Generally, the owner of the dog is held responsible for injuries caused by their pet. However, the specifics can vary based on local laws, which might include “strict liability” rules or the “one-bite” rule.

Strict Liability: Many states have strict liability laws for dog bites. In these jurisdictions, a dog owner can be held liable for a dog bite, regardless of whether the owner knew the dog could be dangerous.

One-Bite Rule: Some states follow the “one-bite” rule, which means the owner may not be held liable for the dog’s first bite, provided they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous. This rule applies only if the owner was unaware of any aggressive tendencies in the dog; however, once a dog has exhibited dangerous behavior, such as biting or threatening to bite, the owner can be held liable for any subsequent injuries.

Factors That Affect Liability

Several factors can influence liability in dog bite cases:

  • Negligence: Owners can be held liable if it is found that they were negligent in controlling the dog or failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the dog from biting. This might include letting a dog roam free in a neighborhood or failing to adhere to local leash laws.
  • Provocation: If a dog bites someone in response to being provoked, the owner might not be fully liable. Courts will consider whether the victim did anything to provoke the dog, such as teasing, hurting, or threatening it.
  • Trespassing: If a person is bitten while trespassing on the dog owner’s property, the owner may not be held liable. Property owners are not typically responsible for injuries to trespassers, provided the trespasser was not a child lured onto the property by the attraction of the dog.

Legal Steps After A Dog Bite

If you are bitten by a dog, taking certain steps can help protect your legal rights:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Always get medical help immediately after a dog bite to treat injuries and document them properly.
  • Report the Incident: Report the bite to local animal control or other relevant authorities. This provides an official record of the incident.
  • Gather Information: Collect contact information from the dog’s owner, and any witnesses. Take photos of your injuries and the location where the incident occurred.
  • Keep Records: Document all medical treatments and expenses related to the dog bite. This includes hospital visits, medications, and any therapy or rehabilitation.

Why Legal Representation Matters

Dog bite cases can be legally complex, and having an experienced attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Our friends at Ted A. Greve & Associates can attest to the complexities of dog bite laws and the benefits of having skilled representation to navigate these legal waters. Your dog bite lawyer can help establish liability, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Don’t hesitate to get the compensation you deserve. Contact a lawyer today to get started with your case.