Dog Bite Injuries: Legal Rights and Steps to Take

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 06/21/23 •  5 min read
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Dogs are the favorite pets of many pet owners worldwide. There are various reasons for this. One is their loyalty which makes them excellent protectors. Another is the companionship they provide. Dogs are also loved for their intelligence which makes it possible to train them to help police officers and people living with various disabilities.

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There is another side to the story, though. Dogs can be vicious, and they can attack people. There have been cases where they have mauled people and left them with serious injuries or even killed them, especially when they attacked in a pack. If this happens to you or a loved one, you are entitled to compensation from the dog owner. If the owner is not willing to accept liability and pay damages, getting them to do so will be a legal process. You can learn more from these dog bite lawyers who can help you with your case.

Dog Bite Injuries: Legal Rights and Steps to Take

A Surprisingly Common Problem

According to a 2021-2022 survey carried out by the American Pet Products Association, approximately 69 million households in the U.S. have dogs. Unfortunately, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, and most of them are children. In Michigan, for instance, there were 905 claims related to dog bites in 2022. The average cost by claim was $49,502, which added up to a total value of $44,800,000. 

Injuries Left By Dog Bites

Dog bites can leave different types of injuries apart from the bite itself. They include:

Do You Have A Case?

In many states, there is strict liability law. A dog owner is held liable if their dog attacks someone if:

Dog Bites And Insurance

Dog bite claims are made to the dog owner’s insurance company. Broadly speaking, renters and homeowners insurance policies have limits on the amount that can be paid for dog bite damages. If the claim exceeds this amount, the owner is personally liable for it.

Some breeds, like pit bulls, are known for being more aggressive than others. In some states, some insurance companies will not give cover to renters or homeowners who own these breeds. Some states prohibit insurers from denying coverage or canceling it to those who own particular dog breeds.

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay

If the dog owner or their insurance company denies liability for an injury inflicted by their pet, it becomes a legal matter. It is important to learn more from dog bite lawyers about your rights and the legal path to getting compensation.

It is essential to know that there is a statute of limitations or a time frame by which they can sue for compensation for a dog bite. In Michigan, like a few other states, it is three years from the day of the attack. There is an exception, though. For victims who were under the age of 18, the statute of limitations clock probably won’t start until their 18th birthday. This means their right to file a lawsuit won’t expire until they are 21.

The Compensation You Can Claim

Dog bite victims can receive compensation for different types of harm, including: 

What Your Dog Bite Lawyer Can Do For You

Perhaps the compensation you are offered is inadequate, or there are delays in getting it. Your dog bite attorney will know how to navigate these and other scenarios that are keeping you from getting the compensation you deserve. 

The personal injury attorneys will build a solid case to make this happen. They will do this by getting proof of the pet’s owner and looking into its history to see if the dog has ever bitten someone else. They will also look for witnesses to give evidence and get medical reports to prove the extent of the injury you suffered. If you lost income while recovering from the wound, they would also prove this.

For the most part, dog bite cases don’t go to court but are settled outside, even if a case is filed. A settlement will usually be reached, which works for both sides in terms of eliminating the time and cost of a trial. Your attorney will represent you during these negotiations to ensure that you get fair compensation within a reasonable period of time. 

The first step in making this happen is to give them details of your case. You can do this via an online form, and they will give you a free evaluation of your case (if applicable). They will take it from there and make sure you get the compensation you deserve, as they have done for so many others. Get in touch with reliable lawyers and get started on your claim.

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!