Dog bite lawyer

If you have been attacked by a dog or any other non-farm animal owned by someone, then their owner could be liable for the costs of your injury. These damages can include money for your medical bills, compensation for lost wages, and repayment for your pain and suffering.

Proving that a dog bite was the result of its owner’s carelessness requires evidence and solid legal reasoning. In order to meet the burden of proof necessary to give their dog bite injury case a chance of success, victims need to have the minimum legal showings for dog owner negligence. That requirement often prompts them to seek out the assistance of an experienced dog bite lawyer.

Your dog bite case deserves a licensed legal expert to help guide its strategy and provide the evidence required to prove owner negligence. With a dog bite injury attorney by your side, you can know with confidence that your case is following proven legal strategies. Your attorney can also secure compelling testimony from animal behavior experts.

Learn about your options for pursuing a dog bite injury claim by connecting with qualified dog bite lawyers by searching

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How much does it cost to hire a dog bite lawyer?

Dog bite attorneys often work using contingency fees. This means that you don’t owe anything unless and until your dog bite lawyer wins your case.

What to do after a dog bite or animal attack

If you have been injured by an animal, do not attempt to treat the injury yourself beyond emergency first aid. Call for emergency help or get a ride to a nearby emergency room as soon as possible.

While waiting for professional medical care, you can place a clean towel or rag over the affected area and apply pressure to stop bleeding. Keep the injured area elevated. Wash the wound carefully with clean water.

Obtain contact information from the owner of the dog and any eyewitnesses. You will want to, at the very least, confirm that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies.

Report the attack to local animal control. They will likely pick the animal up for testing and observation.

Save all of your medical documents, and ask any attending healthcare professionals to write detailed notes about your symptoms and condition. Take photos of the bite immediately in the aftermath of the attack, and document it as it heals.
You can bring all of this information to a dog bite lawyer, who can use it to build a strong case for dog bite liability. Your claim can result in a settlement from an insurer, or it could proceed to a court case if no settlement agreement can be reached.

Animal liability laws

Nearly every state in the U.S. has specific laws meant to address situations where an animal owner lets their pet cause an injury to someone else. Depending on the laws, injury victims may have specific requirements in order to claim damages for their injuries.

In most states, an animal owner can be held liable for serious injuries their animal causes if:

  • It can be proven that the owner knew the animal was “vicious or dangerous”
  • The attack caused an injury with legally recoverable damages
  • The attack was not provoked by the injured victim

Victims are required to show that the animal could be considered “vicious or dangerous” and that the owner was aware of this aggressive behavior. Recent legal victories have established that an action like a “snap” towards anyone that the owner witnessed is enough to confirm that the animal was known to be dangerous.

Some cases may also require the victim to show that the owner was careless in their handling of the animal, which led to the injury. Evidence that the animal was not restrained by a leash in an area where laws require it can be sufficient to establish that the owner was careless and that the animal was dangerous.

Often, an animal behavior expert is called to observe the animal and testify whether the animal exhibited behavior that should have let the owner anticipate that the animal might be dangerous. Victims can also secure testimony of a dog’s past aggressive behavior through interviews with the owner and other witnesses.

Leash laws

Some states do not implement leash laws. However, most counties and municipalities require dog owners to have their animals on a leash outside of their private property. Owners are also generally expected to monitor their animals in all situations so that the animal cannot escape into a public area unleashed.

For instance, Atlanta has a city ordinance requiring all dogs to be kept on a leash in City of Atlanta parks unless the animal is in a dog park. The law also clearly states that “owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs. Each dog must be kept within sight of her/his owner and under voice control.”

What kinds of compensation may I receive for my injury?

In a dog bite case, you can receive compensation for your injuries based on your “damages,” or losses. Victims of dog attacks have the right to pursue three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.


Economic damages are traceable financial losses that you suffered due to the attack. A good way to tell if your expense may be considered economic is if it comes with an invoice or receipt. Economic damages include expenses for:

  • Ambulance rides
  • Emergency treatment
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Mental health counseling
  • Lost wages from time missed at work


Non-economic damages don’t come with a set bill or receipt, but they are still very real. This type of damages is meant to compensate you for the mental and emotional pain that you’ve gone through as a direct result of the dog attack. Non-economic damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma and mental distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Permanent disability


Punitive damages are the least common type of damages, but a skilled dog bite lawyer can successfully argue for them. Rather than reimbursing the victim for their losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the dog owner for their grievous negligence.

Punitive damages are often awarded in cases where the owner knows their dog has aggression issues (for instance, the dog has bitten someone before), or who intentionally trains the dog to fight or attack others.

Common dog bite injuries

Dogs of all sizes have sharp enough teeth and strong enough jaws to cause serious wounds. When a large, powerful dog attacks, these wounds can easily lead to permanent scarring, disability, or even death.

Common results of a dog bite attack include:

  • Major wounds to hands, arms, face, neck, or legs
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement, especially after facial wounds
  • Major nerve damage, inhibiting mobility and limiting sensations
  • Infections, including septic arthritis and osteomyelitis
  • Psychological and emotional trauma
  • Risk of acquiring diseases, like rabies
  • Severed tendons or serious muscle tears
  • Injuries from falling or attempting to defend oneself

How dog bite lawyers prove liability

If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, it’s important not to brush the incident under the rug. A dog who bites once will almost certainly bite again, and you can help prevent someone else from being seriously injured or even killed by taking legal action against a negligent owner.

In holding the dog owner accountable for their negligence, your dog bite lawyer may use the following legal principles.

Negligence and negligence per se

Under this law, a dog owner may be held liable if they are found to have violated laws meant to protect the public from dangerous dogs.

To recover compensation based on the dog owner’s negligence, you and your dog bite lawyer must prove:

  1. The owner had a duty to take reasonable care to control the dog’s behavior around other people
  2. The owner failed to exercise that duty of care
  3. The owner’s negligence directly caused the victim’s injuries
  4. Negligence per se is a personal injury law under which a dog owner may be held liable if they violated the laws meant to protect the public from dangerous dogs.

Knowledge or “scienter”

In dog bite cases, “scienter” refers to the owner’s knowledge that their dog has acted or behaved dangerously in the past.

Also known as the “one bite rule” and “common law strict liability,” under this law a dog bite victim can sue the owner for damages if they can prove that the owner was aware of the dog’s aggressive history or previous attempted (or actual) bites.

A dog bite lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve

Dog bite laws establish firm liability for owners, but only if victims can prove certain minimum showings. Having a dog bite lawyer on your case can offer you critical guidance to build a strong case based on evidence, facts, and established law to try and bring you the compensation you deserve.

Your injuries may be costly, and you should not have to pay for their treatment if they were the fault of another. Work with experienced dog-bite lawyers who want to see you win. Take some time exploring the attorneys listed on LawyerUp today to connect with the best dog-bite attorneys in your area.