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Animal and Dog Bites

Animal and dog bites are among the leading causes of serious injuries, particularly among children. No matter how well-trained an animal is, it is still an animal, and may react in unpredictable ways to human contact. Ultimately, it's up to the animal's owner or caregiver to ensure that it does not harm another person.

If you've suffered a dog bite or another animal attack, you may be able to sue the animal's owner or another responsible party. Because animal and dog bite claims are often fact-intensive and require long investigations, you deserve a skilled personal injury attorney in your corner.

Animal and Dog Bites: Who is Liable?

If you were injured by another person, the court would look at who started the altercation and why. The same is true of animal and dog bite litigation. You will need to demonstrate that you did not provoke the dog or engage in some other illegal act that caused the bite. Some actions that could preclude suing over a bite include:

As long as these situations do not apply, the animal’s owner or caregiver will likely be liable for your injuries. The odds of liability increase more if the animal has a prior history of attacking people, if the owner did not take proper precautions to protect the public—such as letting a dog, even a friendly one, roam off leash—or deliberately training a dog to behave aggressively toward other people.

What Can You Recover When You Sue for a Dog or Animal Bite?

Our legal system operates according to the principle that money is the best way to compensate someone for their injuries. Thus to be eligible to recover anything, you must prove that you were injured—otherwise known as damages. A bite that doesn’t break the skin and that produces no medical issues, for example, would likely not give rise to a lawsuit. But if you experience a more serious bite, you may be able to sue for:

Most dog bite cases settle long before making it to trial. When determining an appropriate settlement, lawyers on both sides will look at the potential recovery at trial. The more extensive your damages are, the more likely you are to receive a large settlement offer.

Choosing Whom to Sue for a Dog Bite

You and your lawyer will need to carefully evaluate which party is the right one to sue in your case. In most instances the responsible party is obvious: the dog’s owner. However, many dog owners simply do not have the funds to cover the extensive expenses associated with a dog bite. Thus you and your lawyer may look for other parties you can sue. Some common options include:

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

Many people injured by dogs and other animals are tempted to litigate their claims on their own. If your injuries are relatively minor, you might mistakenly believe it’s not worth your time and money to hire a lawyer.

 

A personal injury lawyer is perhaps the best value you will ever secure. Most lawyers accept animal bite and attack cases on a contingency basis. That means you will not have to pay your lawyer unless you get paid, either through a settlement or at trial. If you don’t hire a lawyer, your odds of winning will diminish significantly for the following reasons:





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