dog bite lawyers
Legal Areas

Dog Bite Lawyers


If you’ve been bitten by a dog, then the law may offer you a path to compensation through the help of dog bite attorneys. Dog bite attacks can be complicated by highly-specific restrictions and challenges, so it’s important that you consult with experienced dog bite lawyers for guidance. That being said, if you’d like to learn more about how to effectively navigate a dog bite dispute, then read on! We’ll explore some of the basics.

What to do if a neighbor’s dog bites you?

If a neighbor’s dog bites you (and you weren’t trespassing), then you could be entitled to compensatory damages as a dog bite victim.  That being said, do be aware that the law varies from state to state — so don’t assume that you will have a case (or not have a case) until you’ve spoken to a qualified dog bite attorney.  Many of the generalized perceptions people have about the law are based on laws from other states or are based on old regulations and not on the current systems in place.

Here are some steps you’ll want to take after you’ve been hurt by a dog bite:

  • Secure emergency medical assistance, if necessary
  • Don’t assume that you aren’t injured, even if there are no obvious and immediate dog bite injuries. Do attend to potential injuries by talking to a medical professional and having diagnostic tests run
  • Provide the necessary information to law enforcement so that a police report can be made
  • Obtain the contact information and insurance information of the defendant
  • Obtain the contact information of any eyewitnesses
  • Avoid extensive conversation with the defendant’s dog owner, with insurance adjusters, or anyone else with whom you might accidentally disclose sensitive information that could undermine your case
  • Take photos/videos of your injuries and of the accident scene in general
  • Consult an attorney as soon as possible

How much compensation do you get for a dog bite?

Compensation for dog bite claims works similarly to any other personal injury dispute. You are entitled to compensation for claimable losses suffered as a result of the dog bite attack. The potentially claimable losses are diverse, and may include:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expenses (i.e., medical bills for medical treatment)
  • Loss of property
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • And more

Compensation can vary a great deal from case-to-case. For example, your lost wages claim might be minimal to nonexistent if you are unemployed at the time of a dog bite injury. On the other hand, if you are gainfully employed and are forced to take three months off from work to recover from your injuries, then your lost wages claim is likely to be significant.

Given the variation in damages from case-to-case, and how a strong damages claim has to be built up strategically based on the evidence, it’s important that you consult skilled dog bite lawyers who have the know-how and experience to help you maximize your overall compensation.

Is provocation a defense in a dog bite?

It depends on the state, but yes, in many states, provocation is an absolute defense to a dog bite lawsuit. This can be a problem for securing compensation if you in any way provoked a person’s dog into attacking.

That being said, certain behaviors are not considered provocation (that might otherwise be considered provocation):

  • Walking towards the dog
  • Talking to the owner
  • Reaching towards the dog to pet it
  • Turning to face the dog

Assuming the risk is also considered a defense in a dog bite lawsuit. Assuming the risk may involve approaching a snarling, barking dog, for example — if you approach such a dog, then you can be said to have “assumed the risk” of a dog bite, and cannot sue if you are bitten after the approach.

How do dog bite settlements work?

The large majority of disputes (including in the dog bite context) are resolved through settlement, not trial litigation. In fact, industry observers estimate that as much as 95 percent of personal injury disputes conclude in a settlement compromise.

Negotiating with the insurance company is a critical part of reaching a settlement in dog bite cases.


Trial litigation tends to be:

  • Uncertain
  • Public
  • Expensive/resource-intensive
  • Exhausting
  • And more

As a result, most parties tend to prefer a settlement, as opposed to pushing forward to trial. This may surprise many people, who are used to media portrayals of legal advocacy in only the courtroom context.

Due to the innate uncertainty of trial litigation (even if you are confident about your case, there’s always a chance of a loss, or of the court awarding a different amount of damages than expected), parties like to use settlement negotiations as a way of pre-determining a “fair” amount, without the hassle of trial. To determine a fair settlement amount, however, the parties will generally evaluate the “likelihood of success at trial” in securing the desired compensation — in other words, how much you’d receive were the case to proceed all the way through to trial.

For example, if you were claiming $100,000 in compensation and everyone agree that you had roughly a 70 percent chance of successfully obtaining the desired amount at trial, then a fair settlement offer would hover around $70,000.

What is comparative negligence in a dog bite case?

Depending on the state law, your own partial contribution of fault will apply to your dog bite cases in different ways.

In some states, the doctrine of “pure comparative negligence” applies.  Under pure comparative negligence, you’re entitled to sue and recover damages even if you are 99 percent at-fault for your own injuries.  That being said, your damages recovery will be reduced by your percentage contribution of fault.  So, for example, if you are 60 percent at-fault for a dog bite (i.e., you approached a dog that was furiously barking at you, and you reached out to pet it when it bit you), and your damages are $100,000, you’d be entitled to $40,000 compensation at maximum.

In some states, the doctrine of “modified comparative negligence” applies.  This works mostly the same as pure comparative negligence, except that you’ll be prevented from recovering any compensation if you’re 51 percent or more at-fault.

In a few states, the doctrine of “strict contributory negligence” applies.  Under strict contributory negligence, you’re not entitled to damages if you are partially at-fault, even if you are just 1 percent at-fault.  This is quite restrictive, but you can circumvent this restriction by showing that your “contribution of fault” is not actually causally linked to the injuries you suffered in the dog bite attack.

How long after a dog bite can you file dog bite claims?

You do not have an unlimited amount of time to make a claim after a dog bite incident. In every jurisdiction, there is a “statute of limitations” deadline that applies to your dog bite injury claims. This deadline is strict and can vary anywhere from six months to three or four years after the date of injury, depending on the nature of the claim and the jurisdictional law that applies to the claim.

If you fail to bring a lawsuit by the deadline, then courts can and will dismiss your claims, as they will deem them abandoned or relinquished under the law. This can prevent you from securing compensation for your losses.

Given the consequences of an untimely claim (i.e., delaying too long), it’s important to work with a personal injury attorney at an early stage in your dispute. Attorneys have a legal duty to handle your dog bites case in a timely manner — as such, you can rest assured that by working with an attorney, your claims should be filed before the statute of limitations deadline. An experienced dog bite lawyer can help ensure that your claims are filed within the statute of limitations.

If you’ve been injured due to dog bites (i.e., in a serious dog bite attack), then you could be entitled to sue for significant damages as compensation, and dog bite victims should seek legal assistance. That being said, dog bites can involve complicated regulations and legal back-and-forth. As such, it’s important that you connect with skilled dog bite lawyers who can help you navigate these complexities and secure the compensation that you deserve.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free legal consultation with experienced dog bite lawyers in our network. During this initial consultation, you’ll be able to discuss the details of your dog bites case and learn about what your strategic options are. If you decide against moving forward with your dog bites case, or with the attorney in our network — that’s okay. There’s no obligation for you to continue. As such, there’s really no downside to picking up the phone and calling us today to get started.

We look forward to assisting you.

Explore This Page

Swipe >
Contact an Experienced Lawyer

If you’ve suffered losses due to another’s fault, then the law may entitle you to sue the responsible parties and recover damages as compensation. As the case develops, however, you may find that it is more complex — and more challenging — than you initially thought.

We can connect you to an experienced attorney who has the skillset and experience necessary to handle your case. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Posted On: July 18, 2024