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Proving Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Dog Bites

“Man’s Best Friends” have been faithful companions for centuries, but the relationship hasn’t been without a few betrayals here and there. And by a “few betrayals here and there,” the National Center for Disease Control estimates 4.5 million dog bite incidents per year, with just under 900,000 of them being serious enough to require medical treatment. As such, the law places liability for a dog’s actions squarely on the shoulders of its owner. However, just because you were bit by a dog does not mean that you are automatically entitled to compensation; you have to prove the dog’s owner liable in court.

Four Things Needed to Establish Liability

Establishing liability for a dog bite can be more difficult than you may think, but a skilled attorney can work with you to put the evidence in your case to work proving that the owner’s negligence is responsible for your injuries. There are four factors that must be proven in order to establish liability on the part of the dog’s owner.

  • The attack was unprovoked. If a dog is friendly to most visitors on a general basis but you then start provoking it by playing rough, stealing its toys, or otherwise riling it up, you may share in the liability for the bite that ensues. If you did no such thing and the dog attacked on its own accord, and this can be proven, then you may be able to hold the owner liable.
  • You weren’t trespassing. Many dog owners who know that their dog may have a tendency to attack will often secure their property and post signs warning passers-by to “beware of dog.” However, if you enter a property despite these warnings, your claim will likely be significantly weakened. Dogs are territorial animals, and if it’s shown that you entered their territory without an owner’s permission, your case may be dismissed.
  • The dog had a propensity to attack people. Dog bite records are public with the Department of Animal Control. If there are previous reports on the same dog, they will likely significantly boost your case, as you can demonstrate that the dog in question has done this before.
  • The dog wasn’t a police or military dog. Police or military dogs are given “sovereign immunity” in the line of duty, which means that you are almost never able to recover compensation if you are attacked while they have been commanded by their handler.

You should not hesitate to work with a Martin County personal injury lawyer for any dog bite case. Attorney Lauri J. Goldstein and her distinguished legal team are dedicated to helping stand up for the rights of those who have been injured through no fault of their own. We understand your rights and the importance of protecting them to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your losses.

Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC today at 866-675-4427 and schedule a free initial consultation!