Liability for Dog Attacks and How to File Claims for Injury Compensation



dog biting man's wrist

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.

Case Types:

beware of dog sign

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
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.

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Case Study:

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.

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Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney.

Previous Animal Attack Questions...

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 …

Dangerous dog runs off property and attacks leashed dogs... 
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. …

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. …

My dog bit a neighbor 6 months ago, now he's claiming medical issues? 
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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 …

Adult living with my parents and was bitten by their dog? 
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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …

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 …

How do I find out the negligent homeowner's policy limits? 
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 …

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. …

Wife bit by neighbor's dogs... 
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 …

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 …

My 7 year old son was attacked by a wild animal during outdoor gym class... 
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 …

Dog Poop Remover Bitten By My Dog... 
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. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Hand and back wounds from attack while walking my chihuahua... 
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 …

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 …

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.) …

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 …

Bitten By My Father's Cat... 
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 …

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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 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 …

How strong is my personal injury case? 
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. …

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 …

Dog Attack Accident... 
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. …

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 …

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, …

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 …

Can I get compensation from the homeowner's insurance policy? 
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 …

Dog attack injuries and compensation... 
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 …

Hard to control dog causes fall and serious injuries... 
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 …

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 …

Loss of income from dog bite incident... 
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 …

Bullying a woman with a biting dog... 
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 …

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