Can I sue the owner of the dog that attacked me? 56 Answers as of June 19, 2013

Can a dog attack be considered as personal injury? Can I sue the owner of the dog? What evidence should I present for my case to win?

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Legal Center of Homestead Abramson & Magidson, P.A.
Legal Center of Homestead Abramson & Magidson, P.A. | John M. Abramson
If you have proof of a bite and can prove ownership of the dog and hopefully have a witness or some photographs of the dog so you can identify it as the neighbors, and have reported it to police or animal control, you would have a claim. Most difficult part is proof of your injury and damage.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/28/2012
Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
Yes you can sue. it is a personal injury case.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 3/5/2012
The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
Yes, to have a winning case you need to show that the owner of the dog was careless in some fashion that caused your injury.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 3/2/2012
Lapin Law Offices
Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
Yes, a dog attack, whether a bite, scratch or other injury, is a "personal injury" claim that you can pursue against the owner of the dog. Generally, there are two parts of every personal injury case: fault and damages. As to fault, dog bite/ attack cases are considered "strict liability" in that you do not need to prove negligence to recover. As long as you meet the requirements to prove your case and no defense applies, you win. Owners of dogs are responsible if their dog bites or if it kills, wounds, worries ('to treat roughly as with continual biting' or 'to bite or tear with the teeth') injures or chases (and the person being chased is injured while fleeing) another person. Generally, the only exceptions or defenses are: trespassing; intentionally provoking the dog; or the injuries were not the result of a dog's "playful or mischievous behavior." For this last item, the situation where it arises is when a person is playing with another person's dog and the dog gets in the person's way causing them to fall. So to prove fault, all you need to do is prove that you were attacked and injured by the dog, that you were not trespassing, that you did not provoke the dog and your injury was not caused while playing with the dog. You can testify about these items as could anyone else who witnessed the attack. Depending on the type of attack, you could present pictures especially if you were bitten. You could also have anyone who witnessed the attack testify. For your damages, you do not describe how you were injured so it is difficult to discuss the type of evidence you would need to present in order to receive money from the dog's owner. I will discuss some of the more common damages in dog attack cases, which usually involve bites or scratches. If you have pictures of your injuries they would be good evidence. In addition, if you received medical or hospital care then the bills would also be evidence you would want to present. If you missed any work due to your injuries either you someone in your company's payroll department testify about your lost wages. If you have any permanent injuries, such as scarring, you would need a doctor to state that the scarring is permanent. The issue of how you get medical evidence, such as medical bills and permanency, into evidence in any court other than Small Claims Court is complex and beyond this question.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 3/1/2012
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
In Florida, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for any injuries that dog causes (with a few exceptions)....ask the dog owner to give you the information on their homeowner's insurance (which should cover your injuries).
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/29/2012
    Lennon Miller O'Connor and Bartosiewicz PLC | Christopher Morris
    Dog bite cases can be fairly lucrative in Michigan. For example, if the dog owner had homeowners insurance, then a successful lawsuit may be covered by the insurance policy. These cases are handled on a contingency basis by most attorneys meaning that if there is no recovery there would be no attorney fee. I suspect you will have no trouble finding an attorney to handle a dogfight matter on a contingency fee basis.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/29/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    The dog owner can be held liable if it can be shown that the dog was vicious; that it bit or threatened someone before or was known to be difficult to control or of a mean temperment. You need evidence that the dog was viscious (mail carriers, animal control reports), evidence that it bit you, (witnesses) evidence that the person you are suing is in fact the owner of that dog (such as police or animal control report) and evidence of your injuries (medical records).
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/29/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    You certainly can sue the owner of a dog how bit you.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Goodman & Goodman PA | Bruce Elliott Goodman
    An attack by a dog is a personal injury. However, what constitutes negligence on the part of the dog's owner which would allow you to recover for your injury varies by venue.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Dungan, Lady, Kirkpatrick & Dungan PLLC | Michael Dungan
    Dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused to person who are bitten, as long as there are no issues involving trespass or provocation. These can be good personal injury cases as long as the dog owner has home owner's insurance. As far as proofs, you need to consult with an experienced dog bite lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    Yes, dog bites are PI cases. You can sue but, you may not need to. See a personal injury attorney in your area as you may be able to settle without suit. You need to establish "prior vicious propensities" on the part of the dog, i.e. the dog owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous. If you can do that, you have strict liability which is way better than a standard negligence case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Law Offices of Tom Patton
    Law Offices of Tom Patton | Thomas C. Patton
    A victim of a dog bite can make a claim for personal injury against the dog owner's home owners or renters insurance. The owner may not be liable, however, unless the owner knew their dog's propensity for biting. In other words, if the dog had previously bitten someone, then the owner was on notice and needed to keep the dog on a chain, behind a fence, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Atterbury, Kammer & Haag | Eric J. Haag
    Yes, there is a statute that makes the owner or keeper of a dog liable to other persons who are injured by that dog. It is considered a personal injury case. Your claim is actually against the owner or keeper and their homeowners insurance company. As to what evidence you need to present, you really should let an experienced attorney make those decisions. It is impossible to cover all of the evidence you need to present in a short written response, especially when we don't know what the evidence is.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Gilbert & Bourke, LLP | Brian J. Bourke
    Yes you can make a claim against the owner of the dog. You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible so they can gather evidence and present your claim for damages in the most effective way. In California, the owner of a dog has strict liability for injuries caused by their dog.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Ford, Howard & Cornett, P.C. | Bradley Cornett
    Yes, a dog bite is a legitimate basis for a personal injury claim under the right circumstances particularly when the the owner is on notice of the dog's propensity to bite due to its breed and/or prior behavior.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Yes, yes and what proof do you have the dog bit you? Are there witnesses? Did you get medical treatment? Did you file a complaint with animal control, and if so, what were the findings of animal control (was the dog quarantined, did the owner receive a citation)?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/19/2013
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates
    Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
    We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation if you call my office at either of the numbers listed below. If my office accepts your case, there is no fee charged unless we are able to obtain a settlement for you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Yes. Medical records, evidence of the attack, dog ownership.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Law Office of Jason D. Baltz | Jason Daniel Baltz
    Yes, you may sue the owner of a dog that attacked you. You may also sue the dog owner's insurance company. If the owner had notice that the dog was aggressive in nature and had bit somebody in the past, then your claim for damages will double.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes, you can sue and you will win if you can show that the owner knew or should have known of the dog's vicious propensities.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    Yes you can sue the dog owner. As for proof, you simply need to prove the dog bit you and you were in a place where you lawfully had the right to be. You can sue for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages, if any.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    The DeRose Lawfirm | Peter J. DeRose
    You most certainly can sue the owner of a dog who bit you. An owner of a vicious animal has a duty to protect you from harm caused by his animal. The facts surrounding the bite will play a factor, such as, was the dog on a leash or roaming free? You should present any eyewitnesses as well as your medical records. As a rule of thumb, the greater the injury-the greater the recovery. I represented mailmen, ups drivers and children in dog bite cases and I can tell you that for just a bite-no complications or scars-you can expect between 2K to 5K-depending on the area of the state you are in. Hire an experienced attorney and they can assist you in presenting and winning your case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Yes you may sue a dog's owner but?negligence has to be proved. You should contact a plaintiff's personal injury lawyer who handles dog bite cases for specific legal advice and direction.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You must prove the dog was vicious (had a history of other attacks or other aggressive behavior).
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    Yes, dog bites are often the subject of personal injury suits. You need to prove that the dog bite occurred in a context where you did not deliberately provoke the dog or trespass on the owner's property, and that you suffered injury as a result. You'll want to put together your medical expenses and any other losses. Personal injury lawyers routinely handle these sorts of matters and you would be well advised to consult with one. Most will give you a free initial consultation to discuss the costs/benefits of hiring a lawyer to help you. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A.
    Law Offices of Joseph I. Lipsky, P.A. | Joseph Lipsky
    Yes, Florida Law holds the owner of a dog strict liability if their dog bites someone. Generally, the only exception to this standard is if the owner has a sign prominently placed on their property which states "warning bad dog," or if the person who is bitten actually provoked the dog into attacking. Unfortunately, most homeowner's insurance policies now have an exception for animal attacks. This exception makes it extremely difficult to collect damages from the dog owner.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    Yes you can sue a dog owner for personal injury. The evidence you will be required to present can't be outlined in this answer. It depends on the statute or ordinances where the attack took place.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 5/30/2013
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Yes. Talk to an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    You can file a personal injury claim against the owner of the dog that bit you and his homeowner's insurer if he has one. To prove your case, you would testify at trial, have any witnesses testify, and present certified copies of your medical records for treatment related to the dog bite.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes you can. You will need a skilled lawyer to maximize your recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Attorney at Law | Ernest Krause
    You can sue. Where would you sue and for what money? You would have to present ALL your evidence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    James Morris Law
    James Morris Law | James Morris Law
    In New York you can sue the owner of a dog that attacks you if you can prove that the dog has exhibited a vicious propensity prior to the attack. The vicious propensity can be established through proof of a prior bite by the dog involved in your attack, or other aggressive behavior by the dog including snarling, snapping or growling that the dog owner is aware of. If you proof prior vicious propensity you are entitled to recover for your pain and suffering, related medical bills and some other related items of damages. The proof required can come from witnesses and records concerning the dog's history. You should contact a personal injury lawyer with experience handling dog attack cases to perform the necessary investigation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC | Patrick E. Donovan
    Yes. Does the dog have any history? Did you provoke the animal in any way Were you on public property or on private property. Take pictures pd your injury now.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Dog owners are liable for any damages resulting from their dogs' biters. Evidence would include any witnesses to the event, medical bills, testimony from your doctor as to how long you were unable to work, if the doctor held you out of work, testimony from the doctor as to the type and extent of your injury (present doctor testimony only if you have extensive lost wages and future pain and suffering. If you are healed completely, just testify yourself regarding your injuries and lost wages).
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Absolutely. The is strict liability for dog bites in Connecticut unless there has been teasing or trespassing. You should consultant us or another lawyer about the specific process and proof.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Yes if the dog has shown dangerous or vicious propensities in the past and the owner did not use ordinary care (a legal term) to prevent the dog from harming you. See a personal injury attorney ASAP. This type of case is not easy to win. That said, usually there is coverage for this type of thing under the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy. Make lots of pictures before the wounds heal to keep as evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    There is no free bite in a dog bite case. Unless there was provocation, you win. Provocation can be petting without permission.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    Chapter 16.08 of the Revised Code of Washington addresses that.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    Yes you can sue for a dog attack and it is a personal injury. The most critical piece of evidence is the dog's "history". If this is the first instance of the dog biting the case is more difficult as the owner had no knowledge of the dog's propensity to bite- but a 2nd or subsequent bite- the owner knows the dog has bitten before and is thus a risk of biting- and the owner is responsible for the dog. You of course have to show you were not responsible for the dogs actions by teasing or taunting the dog, and that you were in a place that you were entitled to be in- i.e. not a trespasser. You would need to have medical records, bills etc. and the above proofs to have a successful chance of recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    J Wayne Turley BC
    J Wayne Turley BC | Wayne Turley
    In Arizona a dog owner is strictly liable for a dog bite for one year after the bite occurs. If you are within that time, you can make a claim regardless of whether the dog was dangerous or had bitten people in the past or not. All you must show is that the dog bit you while you were in a public area and you did not provoke the dog. If you intend to make this claim, do not let the one year time limit pass without filing the claim in court. You may be able to settle with the dog owner's homeowner's insurance company. You should try that first if you have time before the one year limit expires. The damages that you could claim are past and future medical expenses, any lost earnings and general damages for pain and suffering and scarring, if any. If the dog bite occurred more than a year ago and has not been filed in court, then the elements of the claim change and it becomes more difficult for you to prove your case, but it is still possible in the second year depending on the facts. If the claim is not filed in court within two years of the bite, it is too late, and the claim will be dismissed. Many attorneys handle dog bite cases so you can call one to see whether he/she is willing to represent you on a contingency fee basis.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter | Melvin B. Wright
    Yes. Generally owner is liable for dog attack injuries so long as ownership is proven. Provocation of the dog by the victim is a defense. Often, liability insurance excludes or limits coverage. You need an attorney to investigate the case and insurance issues.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Andersen Staab PLLC
    Andersen Staab PLLC | F. Dayle Andersen
    Dog owners are strictly liable for any dog bites that occur on their property or on public property. You have the right to make a claim. You will probably need some evidence of the bite, your medical damages, and a witness statement if there was one. Typically, you will need to contact the owner to determine whether they had premises insurance. If so, then you will deal with them to get a resolution.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    If you live in a city, failure to keep the dog on a leash is enough to win. Get medical treatment, take pictures of the bites. You should write a letter to the owner with the medical bills and ask them to turn it over to their home insurance company. If they stonewall you, sue them in the Justice Court, just like you see on tv. They will then either turn it over or have to hire an atty at their expense. As long as you didn't tease or provoke the attack, the owner is responsible for any unprovoked attack even if it actually was the very first time Fido bit anyone.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    To be successful in a dog bite case you must show that the dog had a dangerous propensity and had attacked others before you were attacked.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Tomalas Law Firm
    Tomalas Law Firm | Ryan Tomalas
    It is possible that you have a very good claim/case to pursue against the owner of the dog. In California dog owners are held Strictly Liable for the injuries caused by their dogs. Meaning that the owner of the dog is responsible for your injuries no matter what caused the dog to bite, or whether the dog has bitten others in the past. Generally, a dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy (assuming they have one) extends to cover these types of situations. Dog bite cases can be quite complex, especially in light of the emotional/psychological aspect of dog bites and the potential for long term/permanent scaring. Please keep in mind that the "value" of your case is not limited to the medical bills which have been incurred, but rather will take into account the numerous ways this incident may impact your life. We have handled hundreds of dog bite cases and are extremely experienced in this area of the law.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    You should hire a lawyer. He will determine if there is insurance coverage for the do bite. If there is he will contact the dog owner or custodian of dog's insurance company and try and settle the case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    The Torkzadeh Law Firm
    The Torkzadeh Law Firm | Reza Torkzadeh
    Yes absolutely. California law has its own separate 'dog bite' statute that protects victims from injuries received from a dog attack. Dog attacks in California are commonly known as strict liability. I suggest you speak with an attorney about your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/5/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    Yes, the owner is responsible to keep the dog from harming anyone, especially if the dog has bitten someone before. You will need proof of your medical bills, lost wages if any, and any other monetary damages. You will need witnesses to the attack. Owner's homeowner insurance may cover your claim.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    In Utah, the owner or keeper of a dog is strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog. You should consult with an attorney for this case because dog bites can cause more in damages than just your medical bills. An attorney will help you receive full value for your case.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A.
    Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A. | Howard Mishkind
    The owner or harborer of a dog is legally responsible for injuries caused by a dog bite. Unless you provoked the attack or were trespassing at the time of the attack there is very little that the owner can do to defeat your right to recover. Your claim would consist of recovery for the medical expenses incurred, lost income if any, and the pain and suffering and scarring, if any caused by the dog bite. You should also determine if the dog has previously attacked anyone as that would be important in terms of the potential damages that you can recover. You should consult with a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible to better determine your rights. Normally a dog bite is covered by homeowner's insurance and for that reason you need to make sure that you consult with an attorney promptly to know your rights and to know how you should respond to any calls from an insurance adjuster. You should also take photographs of any injuries.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 2/28/2012
    Koning & Jilek, P.C.
    Koning & Jilek, P.C. | Jonathan Neal Jilek
    If you were attacked and injured by a dog, you can sue the dog's owners under Michigan law. Michigan has a strict liability law. You should contact a dog bite lawyer immediately. I am a dog bite lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/28/2012
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