What kind of lawyer do I need if my dog bit someone?

Question

What kind of lawyer do I need if my dog bit someone?

Answer

Most personal injury lawyers should be able to handle a dog bite injury case, and you typically don't need to worry about finding an attorney who specializes in "dog bite defense" cases as opposed to one who handles work on the plaintiff's side.

Familiarity with general fault concepts like negligence and with the specific rules that might govern dog bite cases in your state should be sufficient, and most qualified injury attorneys should have that, at a minimum.

You may be wondering how a personal injury attorney might be compensated if you decide to hire one to defend against a dog bite lawsuit. In many situations, your homeowners' insurance policy will kick in to cover the costs of defending a lawsuit over a dog bite, especially when it occurred on your property. So the insurance carrier should pay your legal costs, and the insurer may even choose a lawyer to defend against the claim. (Learn more about personal injury cases and homeowners' insurance.)

There may be a few valid arguments you (and your attorney) can raise in response to a claim that your dog bit and injured someone. In states that follow a "one bite rule," you may be able to argue that you did not know (and could not have reasonably been expected to know) that your dog might end up biting someone. You might also be able to defend against the injury claim by showing that the person who was bitten was actually provoking your dog, or that the person was trespassing on your property at the time the bite occurred. Learn more about defense strategies in dog bite cases.

To get specific information about dog bite liability rules in your state, click on the link below.

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