We often think of dogs as man’s best friend. But oftentimes, that’s simply not the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, with more than 800,000 of those bites resulting in medical assistance.

After suffering injuries from a dog attack, you may be considering what your legal options are for compensation. In this article, you can learn more about what to expect in a dog bite lawsuit, before you file

You May Need to Hire an Attorney

Once you have received proper medical care for your dog attack injuries, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to consult about your legal options. Depending on your state, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the dog owner or caretaker to collect damages and compensate you for your losses. 

“Oftentimes, a dog attack lawyer will have the ability to skillfully negotiate a fair out of court settlement with the dog owner’s insurance company,” notes dog bite lawyers at Connolly Brennan Ralabate, PC, “If that is not possible, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit and your lawyer will try the matter in court.” If you are unsure about hiring a lawyer, many lawyers offer free consultations so you can explore your legal options before committing.

You Will Need to Prove Liability or Negligence Caused Your Injuries

In order to recover compensation in a personal injury case, you must prove the other party or parties are responsible for your injuries. With the help of your lawyer, you must prove that the dog owner should be held accountable for your injuries because of the dog owner’s action or lack thereof.

Proving liability varies from state to state as there are several types of liability laws in dog bite cases. In some states, fault is determined on strict liability, while other states base fault on “one bite” laws.  If you and your lawyer are unable to meet the requirements to prove liability, you may still be able to continue with your lawsuit if you are able to prove the dog owner’s negligence led to your injuries sustained. 

You Will Need to Be Specific About Recoverable Damages

Over one billion dollars is spent on dog bite insurance claims annually. After negligence contributed to your dog bite injuries, you can recover financial compensation. 

There are multiple avenues for compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages are to reimburse for concrete and tangible items, such as medical bills, future medical treatment, property damage, and lost wages. Non-economic damages are designed to compensate victims for non-tangible losses, such as loss of quality of life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and loss of consortium. 

While rarely awarded, it is possible to recover financial compensation for punitive damages, which aim to punish the at-fault party for particularly wanton or dangerous behavior. To quantify the amount of damages to recover, your lawyer will work on your behalf to hire professionals to provide insight.

Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit

Dog bite injuries can lead to life-long ailments, conditions, and even death. If you or a loved one was injured in a dog attack and is considering pursuing a dog bite claim, speak with a qualified lawyer to explore your legal options during a free consultation. Filing a lawsuit can help you recover financial compensation for things lost due to a dog bite injury and can help you rebuild your life.