According to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 1994 an estimated 4.7 million people were bitten by dogs in the United States, 800,000 of which required medical care.
We love dogs! Their unconditional love and wagging tails provide us with a form of companionship unlike any other. However, we often forget that dogs are animals that act on instincts, not logic. While we understand our own dogs, we can’t predict the behavior of strange dogs, and bites do happen.
If you’ve been bitten, you might be wondering whether you should file a dog bite lawsuit. Most states in the U.S. make dog owners financially responsible when their animal bites someone, even if the owner wasn’t negligent or didn’t know the dog could be dangerous. In fact, more than half of the states have strict liability statutes that make the owner automatically liable for most dog-bite injuries. But there are some exceptions and conditions. In these states, the injured person doesn’t have to prove that the animal’s owner knew the dog was dangerous or that the dog owner was negligent.
In more severe dog bite cases, significant damages are often recoverable and can help offset the steep cost of medical bills, lost wages, and any personal property damage that might have occurred. While the dog bite laws in some states might make it difficult for victims to recover compensation for minor injuries, it can be done.
What to do if someone’s dog bites you? The first thing is to call 911 for medical attention if the bite is severe. You should also take a photograph of your various injuries, be able to correctly identify both the dog and the dog owner when reporting the incident to the police, and document all your injuries, even if they are scratches rather than tears.
While an injured person’s physical dog bite injuries might be minor, dog bite attacks can be traumatic, no matter the severity. They often cause mental and emotional distress and loss of affection, which the victim could be entitled to recover compensation for by documenting their injuries, filing a dog bite report, and consulting a lawyer about the accident.
Most dog bite accidents settle outside of court with negotiations between the injured person’s dog bite lawyer and the dog owner’s home insurance company. While it is rare to sue for a minor dog bite, in more severe dog bite cases, filing a lawsuit against the dog’s owner to recover damages, if a satisfactory settlement isn’t reached through negotiations, can sometimes recover the maximum amount of compensation for a victim’s dog bite injuries.