• Sep
    Posted in:
    Posted by: Jarve Kaplan Granato Starr

    Are Dog Bites Grounds for Legal Action?

    When a person is bitten by a dog and the injury suffered is minor, most people make a mental note to keep away from the person and dog in the future. In some cases, they will take actions to warn neighbors or others who may come into contact with the animal, or even to notify local authorities about the unfriendly dog. But when  dog bites result in significant injuries or trauma, there are more serious legal actions that need to be taken.

    In most cases, dog bites are resolved through the settlement process. Ideally, the dog’s owner would reach out to the victim directly or have either their insurance company or their attorney contact the victim. Failing this, the victim’s attorney needs to take the initiative to contact the dog owner, spelling out the damages that have been suffered and the expectations regarding compensation.

    The compensation that a dog bite victim can expect to receive include payment of any medical bills associated with the dog bite. This encompasses more than the invoices that have already been incurred: it should also address the costs of future treatment that may be needed in relation to the injury and any medical devices, care, or medication needed. The victim is also entitled to the costs of any property that were destroyed during the attack, either as a result of the dog’s attack or by virtue of being used for self-defense, and the total of any wages lost as a result of the injury or having to seek medical help or rehabilitate. Even the costs of bringing in help to care for children, to cook or clean the home, or to accomplish any normal activities that the dog bite has prevented you from doing should be included in the total. When a dog bite has been particularly traumatic, the victim may require permanent disability, plastic surgery, or psychological therapy to deal with emotional distress.

    After compiling a full list of your damages, your attorney will likely send a letter to the dog owner, the dog owner’s attorney and/or insurance company citing the amount of damages that the victim is seeking in compensation for their injury. If an agreement can be negotiated, that is all the legal action that is required. If no agreement can be reached then your dog bite attorney will need to file a lawsuit seeking a trial before a judge, jury or both. At trial you will have the opportunity to present evidence about the attack and the dog owner will be able to defend themselves or to argue against the compensation that you seek.


    Most dog bite lawsuits do settle out of court, but that is not always the case. For assistance after a dog bite, contact our law firm today to set up a free consultation.

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