Common Dog Bite Laws

by JasonAdams on December 6, 2012

(US law and generally) Dog bites affect more people than you could imagine. According to the statistics of the health department, 4.7 million dog bites are reported in the United States annually, excluding those not reported. Of the 4.7 million dog attacks, 20% resulted to serious physical injury. As a result, dog bite lawsuits are very common in courts of the country.

As a rationale, states have different perception on dog bites. On the other hand, other states believe the ‘one-bite’ law is old and not applicable to modern situations. The first dog bite, for some states, is punishable as the second and so forth. A dog bite lawsuit may take a longer period, sometimes years, to resolve.

As with other personal injury lawsuits, dog bite cases must prove the liability of the person. Only if the liability is proven that the dog owner can be held responsible for the damages of the situation. Otherwise, the dog owner does not need to pay for the healthcare cost and other damages of the dog attack.

With the differing state laws on dog bites, there is a big challenge to prove liability. For instance, in Texas, the ‘one-bite’ law is being imposed, while for California, any attack of a dog resulting to injury constitutes responsibility of the dog owner. The only exemption is when the person trespasses on the dog owner’s property, which is the causation why the attack happens. However, at the event that liability is not proven, the lawsuit may revolve on the negligence of the dog owner to stop the dog from attacking the person. Leash laws and regulations are applied to the negligence of the dog’s owner.

There is evidence that the personal injury lawyer may require you to prove liability. Injury photographs, medical records and medical care bills are some of the documents you need to prepare prior to the hearing of the case. You are also required to provide a deposition, by which you need to answer certain questions including your past criminal records, places you’ve resided, employment status and history, and the testimony on how the event happened.

As said earlier, the dog bite lawsuit may take months or years to be resolved. Prior to filing of the lawsuit, the personal injury lawyer must send a demand letter notifying the owner of the dog that you are suing him or her with the information on injuries and the amount of damage compensation you are asking for the lawsuit not to reach the court. In the process, it is necessary for the personal injury lawyer to negotiate with the dog owner or the representative lawyer on the settlement of the issue.

However, if settlement is not reached outside the court, a lawsuit is filed before the court. The court will sit a jury to give verdict to the case. During the trial, each personal injury lawyer will be given the chance to provide argument on the case. If the verdict is favorable to you, damage compensations will be determined by the court.




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