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?
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Visitor Questions on Dog Attacks
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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 >>
My dog has been attacked 3 times by the neighbor’s dog. Twice the attacks were in our own yard; once was while my dog was leashed and walking in the street. Two attacks were reported to the police. Only once did the police report the attack to Animal Control. Two other leashed dogs have been... Read More >>
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 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 >>
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 >>
I’m 31 years old and live with my parents. Their 9-year-old Boxer bit me in the face. He has pancreatitis and doesn’t feel good most of the time. I must have startled him by kissing him in his face while sleeping. He bit my face and let go immediately, almost like he was shocked he... Read More >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
I was attacked by a huge Rottweiler while walking down the street in my neighborhood. The dog attacked without any provocation whatsoever. It tried to get my throat and face and I was carrying my big purse and a bag. I was able to rotate my shoulder up somehow to protect my face and twist... Read More >>
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 >>
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 >>
Our neighbors moved in a year ago from upstate New York. They had 5-6 acres where their four dogs were allowed to run free. Saturday 1/24/15, my wife and I went to the neighbors’ front door to ask them who put in their vinyl fence. When the husband came to the door their four dogs... Read More >>
My 7 year old son was attacked by a rabid fox while outside for gym class at school. I have no insurance and I’m facing mounting medical bills for his treatment. Can I get the school system to pay for the bills? Is there anything else I can do to get his treatment covered? Thank... Read More >>
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 >>
An individual (and his employees) provide dog waste removal at my home. He recently entered my fenced back yard when the dogs were present and was bitten. On other occasions he has entered my yard with the dogs present. when I tried to bring the dogs inside he said not to because he can handle... Read More >>
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 >>
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 >>
I was walking my chihuahua, she was harnessed and on a leash. We were on the sidewalk and a large dog appeared in an open doorway. The dog began running at us and lunged at my dog. I pulled my dog by her leash away from the attacking dog. I was trying to pick up... Read More >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
My Dad’s cat bit me while I was bathing him. My hand is numb and bruised at the site where the cat punctured it and wouldn’t let go. I basically had a thirty pound Siamese cat hanging from the side of my right hand. I went to the Urgent Care clinic under my health insurance... Read More >>
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 >>
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 >>
[BACKGROUND:] I was living with a friend of mine at the time, now a former friend, and we were each renting our own room from the owner of the house. We knew we had to keep our dogs separated at all times due to a previous attack by her dog against mine, which resulted in... Read More >>
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 >>
My daughter was walking down the street and was attacked by a dog. It was a vicious dog attack that took a large section of her calf, down to the bone. She was pregnant at the time and aborted her baby. Who is liable for injuries a person suffers from a dog attack if there... Read More >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
My son got bit by a vicious dog down our street at 11:00 pm. My son had to seek medical attention and was in the hospital overnight. He received stitches and had to go back for check ups. My son now has a scar on his right cheek, from near the top of his ear... Read More >>
I’m wondering if I can get dog bite injury compensation for what happened to me. I spent the night with an acquaintance due to late business. When I left for work the next morning, there were 2 ways out the door: 1. A backroom where boxes were stored, and 2. A front screened-in porch with... Read More >>
I was walking a boyfriend’s dog on the beach when the dog took off in the opposite direction, jerking the leash violently. I hit the hard sand, tore my A-C joint and dislocated several ribs. My question is: Are dog owners responsible for injuries sustained by someone willingly walking a hard to control dog? Read More >>
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 >>
I work for the United States Postal Service as a rural carrier in New York State. I was attempting to get a signature from a customer, while on the customer’s porch a dog approached and when I attempted to leave the porch the dog bit me. I used 2 days of sick leave which I... Read More >>
On December 24th 2009, I was walking on a public road in the mountains in Oregon (a fire road) when I encountered a man with two dogs. The large dog was not on a leash, but the small dog was on a leash. As the big dog bounded up to me, the man said “The... Read More >>