Dog Bites and Animal Attacks: Your Right to Compensation

by Jay Pate

Each state has its own rules regarding liability for dog or animal attacks. Some state laws hold a dog owner responsible for injuries to a person bitten by their dog based simply on ownership of the dog. Other states require the bite victim to prove that the dog was known by the owner to be dangerous or vicious or to prove the owner was negligent or violated an animal control law. Sometimes a landlord or business owner is responsible for the incident. For example, a landlord may have been negligent for allowing a vicious dog to live on the premises.

If you have been attacked by a dog or dangerous animal, the good news is that you damages may be covered by the responsible party’s insurance policy.

Here are some examples of recent dog bite recoveries from around the country:

  • $7 million jury verdict against the owners of a bulldog and a pit bull mix that killed a 10-year-old boy walking to a friend’s house in June, 2009. The dogs had escaped from the property of their owner and the plaintiffs argued that the owners had knowledge of the prior dangerous tendencies in the dogs.
  • $500,000 settlement of a case involving a German Shepherd that attacked a man making house repairs for the dog’s owner. The dog had apparently previously attacked neighborhood children.
  • $2.2 million verdict for a woman injured when trying to stop an attack on her two dogs by two pit bulls that had managed to get into her house.
  • $222,000 settlement when a police dog attacked without being ordered to do so.
  • $130,000 settlement for a four-year-old girl attack in the face by Rottweiler at party.
  • $982,000 verdict for a postal worker knocked-down by German shepherd.

When someone is injured due to a dog bite or animal attack, they have the right to seek compensation for injuries and damages under personal injury law. If you or someone you know is a victim of a dog bite or animal attack:

  1. Immediately seek medical attention for the injuries
  2. Get the contact information from the owner of the animal
  3. Always report the injury to the proper authorities (police, animal control, etc.)
  4. Take photographs of the dog, the place where the attack happened, and the injuries
  5. Write down exactly how the attack occurred

For more information about filing a dog bite lawsuit or another personal injury case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case evaluation form located on this page.