Dogs can be great friends, but they can also be a threat when they bite. If you get hurt by someone else’s dog, a dog bite lawsuit filed with the help of a top personal injury lawyer lets you receive compensation for the trouble you’ve gone through.

There are over 90 million households with a dog throughout the US.

According to the World Animal Foundation (WAF), at least 4.5 million people become victims to dog bites annually in the US. Many of the victims of these dog bite accidents are children and elderly people. 

Many times, the victims of these scary events end up going to court in a dog bite lawsuit. If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, you can take legal action and get compensation for your injuries. 

What Is a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

In the simplest words, a dog bite lawsuit is a legal action taken by someone who has been bitten or otherwise injured by a dog. 

This type of lawsuit is filed against the dog’s owner or the person responsible for the dog at the time of the incident.

The purpose of a dog bite lawsuit is to recover damages – including medical bills, lost wages if the injury kept you from working, and pain and suffering.

Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit: What You Need to Prove

If you’re looking to file a dog bite lawsuit, you need to show that you got hurt because of a dog and that the owner should pay for the harm you’ve suffered.

What you need to show can change based on where you live. Some states  are called “one-bite” states. In these “one-bite” states, you have to prove that the owner had a reason to believe their dog was dangerous for them to be responsible for the damages.

What are One-Bite States?

“One-bite” states are called that because of an old rule: A dog’s owner can be made to pay if they knew, or should have known, their dog could be a threat to people.

This rule doesn’t mean the owner only has to pay if their dog has bitten someone once before. If a dog acts in a way that could tip off the owner it might hurt someone, the owner can still be made to pay if their dog does end up hurting someone. 

Some examples are:

  • The dog has bitten before
  • The dog barks  or growls at people 
  • The dog runs  after people or bikes
  • The dog jumps  on people
  • The dog picks  fights with other dogs
  • People have complained about how the dog acts

What are ‘Strict Liability’ States?

In some states, called “strict liability” states, dog owners have to pay if their dog hurts someone even  if they didn’t know their dog could be dangerous or if they weren’t careless.

If you live in a “strict liability” state, all you need to show is that a dog hurt you for no reason, and that you lost money or suffered in some way because of it.

Who is Accountable in a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

In most dog bite cases, you’ll file a lawsuit against the owner. Usually, the dog’s owner will have some kind of insurance that covers this.

The insurance company will probably try to settle with you to avoid going to court, or they’ll agree to pay the money you would seek if you won the dog bite lawsuit in court. A settlement lets you get compensation without going to court, but once you accept a settlement, you can’t ask for more money later for the same bite incident.

If you’re looking for fair compensation for your injuries, you should talk to a top personal injury lawyer, who will provide you with the right advice and tell you how to proceed. 

Sometimes, other people besides the dog owner might be responsible too. For instance, if a landlord knew a dangerous dog was living in a place they rent out, and they didn’t do anything about it, they could have to pay if the dog ends up attacking.

Compensation in a Dog Bite Case

Dog bites can lead to serious, and sometimes even deadly, injuries. If a dog bites you, you might need a lot of medical care, even surgery. 

You have the right to get money back for all the harm you’ve suffered because of the dog attack. This could include:

  • Bills for doctor visits to treat injuries and costs for any future medical help you might need
  • Lost money if you couldn’t work because of injuries from the dog bite or if it affects your ability to earn money in the future 
  • Pain and suffering from the bite and the injuries it caused 
  • Upset feelings because of the attack

When your top personal injury lawyer takes a dog bite case to court, you need to show how much you’ve lost. A lawyer who knows about personal injuries can help you collect the proof you need to show how much you’ve been hurt.

What to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog?

After a dog bite, be sure to get the dog owner’s name and contact info, as well as their insurance details, if they have any.

You can choose to tell the police about the bite, which is a good idea if the injuries are bad. Get medical help right away, especially if the dog might have diseases. Even small bites may need medicine to stop infection, so always see a doctor right away.

Dog bites are scary, so you might want to get help for your feelings as well as your physical injuries. This can stop you from having stress or anxiety problems later on.

Once you know how bad your injuries are, talk to a top personal injury lawyer who knows about dog bites. They can help you reach a settlement with  the insurance company of the dog’s owner or get the proof you need to go to court for a dog bite case to get the fair compensation that you deserve .


Q: How much money can you get from a dog bite lawsuit?

The amount you can get from a dog bite lawsuit varies based on your injuries, medical costs, and lost wages. It can range from a few thousand dollars to over a hundred thousand.

Q: Can I sue if someone’s dog attacks me?

Yes, you can sue if someone’s dog attacks you. This legal action is known as a dog bite lawsuit.

Q: Who pays for injuries caused by dog bites?

Usually, the dog owner’s insurance company pays for injuries caused by dog bites. This might be homeowners, renters, or umbrella insurance.

Need Help?

If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

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About the Author: James Swartz
Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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