What Are the Elements of a Dog Bite Case?

Posted on: 21 October 2015

If you are bitten by a dog, you can file a lawsuit against the owner for injuries that you suffered. Whether or not you are successful in winning your case depends on numerous factors. To help ensure you are properly prepared to take on the challenge of suing, you need to understand the different elements of a dog bite case. 

The Owner

In some states, whether or not you can win a case for a dog bite depends on the owner of the dog. The thought is that if the owner was aware that his or her dog could possibly hurt someone and did not take steps to prevent this, he or she is liable. For instance, if the dog had previously attacked another dog and the owner failed to keep the dog secured, which resulted in you getting bit, you could have a case. 

If you are unable to prove that the dog owner was aware that his or her dog was potentially aggressive, your case is not completely lost. Some states have laws that automatically hold the owner responsible for the attack. 

The Laws

Depending on the state in which you live, you may not have to show that the owner was aware of the dog's potential for biting. In those states, whether the dog bit you in a private or public place, the thought is that the owner is responsible. If your state automatically sides with the victim, your case will be relatively easy to win as long as you can prove that the person's dog bit you. 

It is important to note that in some states, there are laws that remove responsibility from the owner if the dog was provoked or the victim was trespassing at the time the injury occurred. For instance, if you were throwing rocks at the dog prior to it attacking you, you could be held liable for your own injuries. 

The Injuries

It is not enough to prove that you were bitten by the dog, you also have to show that you suffered actual trauma. For instance, if you had to get extensive treatment because of the injuries from the dog, you have a case. Even minor injuries can warrant a payoff. However, the compensation that you receive is usually comparable to the level of injury, so your settlement could be small if you have a minor injury.

If you suffer an injury from a dog bite, consult with a personal injury attorney, like one from Vaughan & Vaughan. He or she knows your state's laws regarding dog bites and can help you build your case.