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What are your Legal Options if your Dog Bites Someone?

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When you’re a dog owner, your dog’s behavior is directly tied to your social reputation. If they act in a friendly, docile manner, you are praised for having raised them so well. They are an extension of your own behavior.

But what happens if your dog is forced in a defensive stance and a tense situation results in a bite? Should you be held responsible for something that is out of your control, and in all fairness, for an animal trying to protect itself? Here is the legal perspective on dog bites.

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The Legal Risks and Implications of a Dog Bite

Throughout the States, dog bite law is either based on strict liability, a ‘one-bite rule’, or a mixed status between the two.

One-bite states allow you to avoid liability for a legitimately accidental dog-bite injury, however, this doesn’t mean that you cannot be held accountable under any and all circumstances. If it is proven that the dog bite was a result of your negligence as an owner, or a direct violation of the regional leash law, you could still be sued for damages.

In mixed status states, things become complicated. While they still embody the one-bite rule, they do hold a higher degree of owner accountability, and the limited circumstances in which you are exempt from liability can be tricky to navigate without the counsel of a professional.

This legal ambiguity and subjectivity regarding what is considered ‘mal-intent’ and ‘negligence’ when it comes to a dog-resulted injury is precisely what stands at the base of the dreadfully complicated dog-bite lawsuits, while also giving leeway to the intentionally strategic practice of provoking a dog, with the hopes of a grand cash-in through moral and physical damages. Thankfully, there are people who can help with both.

The Expert’s Advice

Dog bite lawyers consider that, if you are to be held accountable for every social action your dog takes, then at the very least you should have access to the information that is necessary for protecting your public image. And while most people think that hiring a dog-injury attorney works only from the side of the injured party, that is just a simple misconception.

From a retroactive legal standpoint, a lawsuit can be deconstructed to the specific legal circumstance it was filed on, and the claims of negligence and lack of social conduct can be looked at from multiple perspectives – what if the injured party invaded my dog’s personal space and completely disregarded one of the many tells of distress they were displaying. Shouldn’t a living being be allowed to reasonably defend itself as best it can when they are feeling rightfully threatened?

Moreover, in extreme cases, a lawyer is aptly able to prove the fact that the dog bite claim that you are facing was an orchestrated affair. As mentioned before, certain cases of dog bite injuries can result in liability payments of extreme amounts, due to the vast number of viable claims for damages that are made against the dog owner, so there would be plenty of intent behind the accuser’s self-inflicted injury.

Seeing as the financial consequences can literally add up to millions of dollars in billings, it is advisable to always reach out to a specialist before employing any course of legal action. Even if a situation such as this one might appear hopeless at first glance, there will always be impassioned people who sympathize with the delicate position you have been placed in. Sooner, rather than later, you will find someone who is more than willing to freely use their expertise and knowledge in helping you reach legal daylight.

About the Author


Kyle Hambright is a passionate writer who greatly enjoys raising awareness on the vast and complex field of personal injuries, his main area of legal expertise. His articles always highlight a cause-effect-solution formula that serves to clearly explain and relate the nature of a legal issue, while conclusively offering his audience a concrete resolution.

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