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What Are My Rights as a Dog Bite Victim?

Most dog bites result from aggression. But regardless of the aggression’s origin, dog owners are responsible for keeping others out of harm’s way from their pets. As a dog bite victim, you have protections under the law that allow you to seek financial compensation for your damages.

Dog bites can result in serious injuries. What happened to you wasn’t your fault, and you have rights that allow you to hold the dog owner at fault for the dog bite incident. Our dog bite lawyers explain what rights dog bite victims have and what legal options are available to them.

The Law Is On Your Side for Dog Bites

Millions of dog bites occur in the U.S. annually. Recent facts about dog bite liability show that the vast majority of dog bite victims are children. If you or a family member suffered through a dog bite, the law is on your side.

There are currently millions of households with dogs as pets. Bites are common, so the law reflects that and provides dog bite victims with the legal leeway they need to compensate for any damages.

When Are Dog Owners Not At Fault for a Dog Bite?

You might be unable to file a claim if you deliberately caused a dog to attack you. Dog bite owners are not at fault only under the following circumstances:

  • You were trespassing on private property
  • You intentionally aggravated or provoked the dog into biting you
  • You were trying to cause harm to the dog owner, and the dog bit you to protect them

If you weren’t doing any of the above, you will be eligible to file a claim. Also, remember to double-check if your state currently has the one-bite rule in effect. If your state has the one-bite rule, additional work will be necessary to see if you can file a claim.

The One-Bite Rule Explained

The one-bite rule essentially allows dogs one bite before the dog owner is liable for any damages. If the dog that bit you doesn’t have any prior history of biting, then you can’t file a claim. Certain states have the one-bite rule in effect:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

The one-bite rule used to be the standard rule used across the country. Only a few states still practice it now. Trying to pursue financial compensation for a dog bite incident in a one-bite state can be challenging. It’s best to consult with a dog bite lawyer to see what you can do to recover a settlement.

Do I Need a Lawyer Even if the Law Is In My Favor?

If you live in a one-bite state, you should definitely contact a lawyer right away to see if you have a case. For all other states, even if the law is on your side, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get a fair settlement. You still have to deal with the insurance companies, and the government will not help you get compensation.

Settlement negotiations can take a long time without a lawyer. Insurance companies can afford to drag out the amount of time it takes to reach an agreement on compensation. They do this knowing that you need your settlement fast. The longer they take, the more likely you are to accept their lowball offer.

Insurance companies are notorious for using stall tactics and strong-arming personal injury victims from getting a settlement that properly reflects their damages. They have zero reasons to offer you anything less than the bare minimum. With a lawyer by your side, you can ensure that your voice gets heard and that you get fairly compensated.

Can I Recover Compensation for All My Damages?

The law gives you the right to pursue compensation for all the damages related to your dog bite, which can include:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disability or disfigurement
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental anguish

There’s no real way to see how much your compensation will be without first examining all of the facts surrounding your case.

Talk to a Lawyer Today

The best way to win a dog bite case is to contact a dog bite attorney. You shouldn’t delay in building a strong case. An attorney will explain your rights as a dog bite victim, collect evidence, and help you understand the law surrounding your dog bite incident. While you recover from your injuries, your attorney will fight hard for you.