Dog Bite Defense

Important Steps to Take if Your Dog is Responsible for a Dog Attack

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Liability for Dog Bites

Most dog owners in will do anything to protect the well-being of their pets and typically has a strong bond with their dog and relies on them for emotional support. Therefore, if their pets are involved in a dog attack that results in an animal bite, they may be anxious about who will have to take liability for the situation. Fortunately, a dog bite defense lawyer can protect their rights and advise them in these cases.

If your dog was in a situation where they felt unsafe or threatened, then reacted accordingly, outside parties may try to label your dog as a “dangerous dog.” However, this can have serious consequences for dog owners and their pets, and they can fall victim to many penalties, including euthanasia. If you are facing criminal charges as a dog owner, a dog bite lawyer from The Animal Law Firm is available to leverage their experience in personal injury law to defend your case.

When determining who is liable for a dog bite incident in the United States, different states have different policies. Often a victim who is injured by a dog can claim liability against the owner. The victim of the dog bite does not have to prove that the other party was guilty or negligent regarding the handling of their dog.

Other states have a one-bite policy, which means that people who are bitten by a dog have to prove that the dog had already bitten another person once before to prove that the other party is liable.

Each state has varying degrees laws concerning dog bites. Many times statutes state that an individual who is subject to a serious injury or even death after a dog attack while being present legally on public or private property can bring a civil suit against the dog owner. The person who was attacked doesn’t have to prove that the dog is particularly vicious or that the owner was negligent.

Can I Be Sued If My Dog Bites Someone?

If your dog bites another person, then you can absolutely be sued. Most states allow for laws and statutes to make sure that animal owners can be held liable for the actions of their pets. After being bitten by your dog, an individual has the right to file a civil suit against you to try to get compensation for the damages caused by the dog bite.

Some compensation that individuals who have been bitten by your dog might seek includes:

  • Money for medical bills
  • Short- or long-term disability
  • Chronic pain
  • Emotional suffering

You likely be held accountable for a dog bite, even if your dog was not aggressive in the past and you were taking strong measures to supervise your dog.

Because the many states laws do not typically favor the dog owner in dog bite cases, it’s important to work with an attorney who has been dealing with dog bite cases similar to yours for years. Your lawyer can help you fight the charges against you and determine whether your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance can cover the claims against you.

How Can I Protect Myself Against Dog Bite Claims?

To avoid getting into a dog bite claim and being held liable, you can take the following steps:

  • Watch your dog. It’s important to keep an eye on your dog wherever you go, especially if they will be in an environment with children. Children may be less sensitive as to how to interact with your dog, which could provoke them. Also, environments with strangers or other animals could cause them to react as well. Keep them in fenced or secure areas if you are not supervising them.
  • Abide by local laws regarding the handling of your furry friend. It’s important to be aware of any prevalent leash laws or regulations regarding the handling of your dog. This can help avoid unnecessary conflict and, potentially, a dog bite case.
  • Put signs in your yard and on your property. If you put up signs warning people passing by your property that you have a dog, then they will be more likely to take caution. While you may not be absolved if they get bitten, it can help prevent the situation from happening in the first place.
  • Make sure your dog is properly trained. It’s important to socialize and train your dog from the time that they are young. You can work with a dog trainer or enroll your dog in classes to ensure that they are comfortable around other animals and people.
  • Keep the area around your house secure. If you leave your dog at home throughout the day, then it’s important to ensure that the premises are secure so that they won’t escape and attack someone. If you have a fence, have it checked regularly for holes or loose pieces of wood or metal, and make sure it is properly repaired.
  • Be sure that your dog is properly vaccinated. Take your dog to the veterinarian regularly to ensure that they are up to date on all their vaccines. This will prevent them from spreading diseases, such as rabies, to other people or animals if they bite them, and it will protect them from getting sick if they are bitten.
  • Ensure that your dog is properly cared for. It’s critical to make sure that your dog is properly fed, groomed, and sheltered so that they do not feel neglected or abandoned.
  • Make sure that your dog is not tending toward aggressive behavior. If your dog starts to exhibit aggressive behaviors, it’s important to curb this by working with them and taking them to a trainer.
  • Purchase liability insurance that covers dog bites. If you are unsure what homeowner’s or renter’s insurance you should purchase to protect you and your dog from potential accident liability, then a dog bite defense lawyer can work with you to advise you on how to proceed.

If you are preparing for the possibility that a dog bite claim might be filed against you, and you are unsure of what your responsibilities and rights are as a dog owner, then a personal injury lawyer who is experienced with dog bite cases can get you the information you need. They can help you learn and process state and local laws that are applicable to your situation.

If your dog does get involved in a dog bite incident, it’s important to take videos and pictures. Also, note the time and place of the incident as well as details regarding what happened. Even if the case is extremely minor, it’s important to document everything, as it could be used to help your case in the future.

At The Animal Law Firm, our dog bite defense lawyers see lots of amazing, well-meaning owners who find themselves on the receiving end of a citation from Animal Control for a dog bite. The Animal Law Firm is one of the few dog bite defense firms in the country. So, if you are given a criminal citation or sued in civil court for monetary damages for your dog allegedly biting someone, call us today at 1-844-PET-LAWYER (1-844-738-5299) for a 30-minute consultation charged at $100 (*consultation fee is non-refundable upon booking) on how we can help protect you and your dog!

You may do what you can to make sure your dog never attacks a person, but these incidents happen all the time, and it can happen even with a dog that has never bitten before. If your dog is accused of biting someone or another dog, you should know that you could be held liable for a dog bite injury either in criminal court with criminal penalties or in civil court with money damages. Therefore, you should know what steps you should take right away.

It is critical that you keep your cool if your dog gets into a fight with another dog. It is easy to immediately want to defend your dog or get confrontational in these high-energy incidents, but, as the saying goes: “cooler heads prevail.”

Get contact information from any witnesses who saw what happened.

Witnesses can help identify whether your dog was provoked or not, thus increasing your chances of a good defense if this goes to court.

When animal control reaches out to you, cooperate with them and provide vaccination records and licensing records, if and when you are asked. If you do not have them on hand, let the officer know you will contact your vet and provide and copy as soon as your vet gives it to you. DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS to the animal control officer about what happened. The LESS YOU SAY, THE BETTER! An animal control officer at your door means he/she is about to issue you a citation for a dangerous dog or animal attack. Statements made to Animal Control could be fatal for your dog.

A civil case where another lawyer sends you a letter or a complaint (a formal written document outlining how you and your dog were at fault) means you are being sued for money. Typically, your renter’s or home owner’s insurance can handle this and pay out the claim. But, if you do not have insurance, you will need a dog bite defense attorney because your assets will be at risk in a lawsuit. Even worse, a civil case can also give the complaining party the power to have your dog euthanized!

Proving Liability When a Dog Attacks Another Dog

In property damage cases, you have to prove the liability of the owner of the dog who attacked. This means that you must show that either:

  • The owner was either neglectful or responsible.
  • The dog who attacked was showing particularly aggressive behavior before the attack, and the owner did nothing to correct these behaviors.

A property damage suit must link the negligence of the owner to the actions of the dog who destroyed the property.

The owner of the dog who attacked cannot be held liable in for property damage unless they meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • The owner of the dog knew about the aggressive nature of the dog before and did nothing to curb or prevent it
  • The dog owner was breaking a law or local ordinance that regulates the handling of animals, such as a leash or confinement law. These laws are put in place to protect the health and well-being of citizens.
  • The dog who attacked was already on a Dangerous Dog Registry because they had another attack prior to the current attack.

If you are unsure how the details of your dog bite case could influence potential case outcomes for you and your dog, then it’s important to talk with a personal injury lawyer right away. They can analyze the details of your case and charges. They can then let you know which parts of the law can be applied to your case.

Let Us Help You Defend Your Furry Loved One

Facing dog bite litigation can be frightening and overwhelming, especially if you are unprepared to fight back against the charges. We can address your questions and concerns while helping you protect man’s best friend. If you receive a citation from animal control, call our animal lawyers at The Animal Law Firm.


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