Dog attacks account for over one-third of all homeowners insurance claims filed every year. Many end in lawsuits seeking damages.
There is no nationwide law for dog bite cases. This sometimes leads to confusion as there can be multiple competing layers of ordinances.
Liability must be proven in a dog attack case. This starts with the victim identifying the attacking dog and the dog’s owner or responsible party.
Most cities and counties require dogs to have identification tags with the owner’s contact information.
There is always a case to be made if a dog owner violates confinement laws or knowingly harbors a dangerous animal.
Most dog bite lawsuits are settled by insurance companies out of court (these cases are often handled through the dog owner’s homeowners policy). If you do need to file suit, finding an attorney with a track record in dog attack cases can significantly help, even if the case never makes it to court.
Some states maintain a dog owner has strict liability. This means the owner is liable for any attack regardless of whether or not the owner knew the dog was dangerous. In states without this standard, it has to be proven that the owner knew the dog was dangerous.
Contributory negligence is also a factor. A person who climbs over the fence into a dog pen and gets bitten obviously contributed to the incident. They may have partial (or even full) liability for their own dog bite injury. Provoking the animal can also be a contributing factor.
Dog Bite Laws in the U.S.
Get an overview of the laws governing dog attacks. The circumstances of a dog bite and your state’s laws will affect liability and the amount of compensation you may get for your injuries.
Non-aggressive Dog Accidents
Sometimes non-aggressive dogs cause accidents unintentionally, such as knocking people over and tripping them up. In these instances, who’s liable for the victim’s injuries? Find out here.
Dangerous Dog Breeds and Liability
If you’ve been attacked by a known dangerous dog breed, you may be able to use state or local laws to build your claim for compensation.
Dog Attacks on Children
When children are attacked by dogs, it raises unique issues of liability and compensation. Find out more about winning dog bite lawsuits with child victims, and how parents can protect children from dog attacks.
Dog-on-dog aggression can be responsible for injuries to both human and canine victims. Unfortunately, insurance won’t cover a dog’s pain and suffering.
Wild Animal Attacks Zoo Patrons
Attacks involving wild animals are held to a different standard of liability than those involving domesticated animals such as dogs and cats. Here we present a case where a zoo failed to properly secure a leopard which results in several injuries.
How Much is Your Injury Claim Worth?
Find out now with a FREE case review from an attorney…
Visitor Questions on Dog Attacks
Neighbor’s dog bit me in my yard… I was outside on my property when a neighbor’s dog came into my yard. I tried to shoo it out of my yard and it bit my hand, causing it to bleed, and also knocking me off my feet, causing tendon damage in my knee. I called the police and they took a statement. I... Read More >>
Dog bites neighbor… Our neighbor came up to our fence late one night and started yelling at our dog, who was at our fence. He was barking and the guy got his fingers scratched. He then came to the door wanting our dogs to meet in neutral territory, since he was new to the area. We took our... Read More >>
My dog bit a neighbor 6 months ago, now he’s claiming medical issues? My dog Daisy is a sweet, non-aggressive Australian shepherd, who loves everyone except our neighbor. We don’t know why she doesn’t like him. No one on our street likes him. He drives so fast down our street that every single one of us have asked him to slow down and he won’t. I believe it... Read More >>
Bitten by dog while delivering pizza… I was delivering pizza and a homeowner’s dog bit me twice. I had to get a stitch on the leg bite. My stomach aches from the first bite and my leg still has pain. I’m basically wondering how much should I settle for, and if there’s anything I need to know about filing a case... Read More >>
Foster dog bit neighbor… I was asked if I could keep a foster dog for two weeks for a person that fosters dogs while she went on Christmas vacation. After asking about the dog’s temperament, etc., and being told the dog was very sweet, I said I would help. They did say the dog came from an abusive situation,... Read More >>
Does homeowners insurance have to cover injuries from a dog bite? One afternoon my neighbor rang the doorbell. Some children visiting me opened the door before I could get there, and my dog got out and bit my neighbor. I asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital and she refused because she was on drugs, now she is suing me for the bite... Read More >>
Nephew’s dog bit my eye… I live in Nevada and went back to my home town in North Dakota to hunt upland game. My nephew from Minnesota came too. We were at my parent’s house in ND. I went to get onto the floor in the living room and my nephew’s large black lab bit me in the right eye.... Read More >>
Liability for my dog biting a pizza delivery man? I have a Boxer who has never showed any aggression and does not have a history of biting. We had a pizza delivered today and my dog got out of the front door and walked up to the delivery guy. I grabbed him by the collar and the pizza guy jumped back and said “WHOA”.... Read More >>
Injured when my dog was attacked on a sidewalk by another dog… While walking my dog, a dog attached to a very long chain on a porch charged aggressively, resulting in dog-dog fight on the sidewalk in front of the house. Then a second, unleashed dog charged from the house, resulting in a 3-dog fight. I pulled back on my dog’s leash to separate her, but fell... Read More >>
Can my dog be put to sleep for nipping at a jogger? One night, my sister and I were walking our two pet dogs. Some person jogged passed us from behind, and I think my dog saw her as a threat so he nipped her sweatpants. I quickly pulled him away to keep him from pursuing her. We had no idea she was behind us, and I... Read More >>
Bit while working as a delivery driver… I work as a delivery driver. While entering a client’s office I was bit on my lower leg by their dog. The bite broke the skin and left a bruise. I went to my company’s insurance doctor. The wound was cleaned, had a tetanus shot and given pills for infection. The incident occurred the day... Read More >>
Can I reopen this case after a year? I was bitten by my grandmother’s dog about a year ago and had gotten stitches. It was on the inside of my lip and it had healed up pretty nicely… so I thought anyway. I have recently found that it’s a bit swollen and I’m tasting a bit of blood. So I’m curious: Is it... Read More >>
Victim compensation when medical costs exceed the policy limits? I got a severe dog bite of the lower leg resulting in 3 surgeries and a total of 6 months of recovery (since February 2013). I am still recovering and I have long term/permanent scarring on my arms and leg with deep disfigurement on the leg. This situation my have long term negative conditions in... Read More >>
Can I be compensated for laser treatment and/or plastic surgery? I got bit in the face by someone’s dog while lawfully on their property. I received 4-5 stitches above my lip. The dog took a small piece of my lip and the other lacerations will leave a couple of scars. Since this just happened I don’t know what it will look like after it heals.... Read More >>
Cat Bite While Working… I work in an assisted living home as caregiver. A tenant’s cat escaped its owner’s apartment and entered the library. (The owner is visually impaired.) I talked to the cat, trying to calm it down, and while trying to open the tenant’s apartment door I slipped my fingers under cat’s harness to help guide it... Read More >>
Attack by neighbor’s dog caused my Achilles tendon rupture… A few weeks ago while taking out my garbage I was confronted by my neighbor’s 125 lb dog. As I backed away from the dog who was growling at me, I tripped over the Belgian block bricks that line my driveway, causing me to tear my Achilles tendon. The sudden move also made the dog... Read More >>
Attacked by a Dog at My Wedding… About a month ago (while at my own wedding taking wedding photos at a lodge we rented) myself and my dog were attacked by the lodge property owner’s son’s dog. This happened in Washington state. I received a bite on my left hand with 4 deep puncture marks, and left my dog with severe damage... Read More >>
Dog Bites Plumber… A plumber would not stand still while my dog sniffed him. He made a quick move up the stairs and my dog bit him. After he was bit he continued to do the work. He then went to the doctor after the incident. Later he told me he was afraid of dogs and had been... Read More >>
Dog Bite Liability Question… My friend’s dog bit a lady at his apartment. She went to the emergency room and was cleared. My friend paid for the copay, but now the woman wants my friend to pay her the rest of the hospital bill (which the lady’s insurance has already paid). Is what this lady is asking legal? Why... Read More >>
Need info on dog bite… I need some dog bite advice since I got attacked by a dog while walking in my neighborhood with my wife. I got 5 puncture wounds on my arm as I was trying to protect my face. I received stitches but the wounds still got infected, I had severe fever for 3 days and ended... Read More >>
Dog Bite Workers Comp Settlement… I’m a home health nurse and I went to a regularly scheduled appointment at a patient’s house (who was the homeowner). They had their dogs tied up in front, they have always been locked up but that day they were blocking both entrances to the doors. I saw the nephew in the driveway and asked... Read More >>
Cat bite personal injury claim… In January 2011, I was bit by a neighbor’s cat. The cat was on my property and appeared friendly so I pet the cat and it suddenly bit my lower forearm and wrist area. It resulted in a seven day hospitalization, two I&Ds and a synovectomy. I am a court reporter and was out of... Read More >>
What is a fair dog attack injury claim amount? I’m wondering what’s an appropriate dog attack injury claim amount for my case: On November 30, 2010 I was bitten on my right hand by a dog at a home where I clean weekly. The bite broke my right ring finger and caused damage to my tendons (I am right handed). It required surgery, including... Read More >>