I Was Bitten By a Dog and Injured. What Are My Legal Options?


I Was Bitten By a Dog and Injured. What Are My Legal Options?

Dogs are man’s best friend, right? Most of the time that’s true. But dogs can also pose a danger to humans. If you’re injured due to a dog bite, the pain can be immense. But so can the financial pain of treatment. Time recovering might mean time off work, and medical bills are often financially crippling. All of this might lead you to wonder what your legal options are. Only an experienced personal injury attorney in your state can tell you for sure, but here are some questions to consider.

Whose Dog Is It?

Someone who lives with you might be trickier to prosecute. The dog that’s living with you is basically your dog, for all intents and purposes, and you wouldn’t sue your mom if the family dog bit you. But if you don’t live with the dog, you have more legal options. If it’s someone you know, it’s most likely that you’ll be able to settle the case outside of court. If it’s a total stranger and they are unwilling to take responsibility, you can take them to court for personal injury damages. It’s best to hire a personal injury attorney for a dog bite case. Even though it might seem small, an attorney can help you achieve the most beneficial result.

Was the Dog Provoked?

Dog bites that happen in a normal situation, such as you were walking down the street minding your own business and got attacked, are easier to handle in court. However, if you provoked the dog in any way, you’ll have a harder time claiming damages and getting restitution. Taunting a dog, messing with it, trying to incite violence between your dog and another, and other behaviors like these will usually make your time in court much more difficult. This is because you will likely be seen to have contributed to the event, so you won’t be able to ask for as much in damages as you would be if the dog was unprovoked.

Small Claims or Criminal Court?

Almost every dog bite case goes to small claims court. You can opt to take your personal injury case to small claims court for a faster resolution, especially if there aren’t too many damages. It’s extremely rare that a dog bite case will ever be taken to criminal court. However, if the owner was doing something illegal, neglected proper care such as keeping their dog on a leash, or otherwise showed negligence, you may be able to file criminal charges. This is particularly true if injury or death occurred as a result of the dog bite.

Most dog bite cases never see the courtroom and can be settled through arbitration or in small claims court. Only in rare and serious cases is it usually necessary to involve anything beyond small claims court. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t need an attorney. Consult with a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney to help you decide what the best course of action is given the specifics of your case. Only a personal injury attorney can help you craft the best case, obtain the most restitution possible, and get you on the road to financial health and full restitution. Fight for your rights by consulting a personal injury attorney in your state today.


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