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When Should You Sue Over a Dog Bite Infection?

If you have suffered a serious dog bite injury, such as one that resulted in a dog bite infection, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. By filing a claim against the dog owner, you can seek damages, or compensation, for your medical costs, lost wages due to missing work, and other expenses.

Liability in Dog Bite Cases

If you have suffered a dog bite infection, then the type of lawsuit you will file is known as a personal injury lawsuit. To win your lawsuit, you will have to prove that the dog owner is liable for your injuries. If you cannot prove that the dog owner is liable, then you may not be able to successfully file a lawsuit.

Different states have different laws regarding liability, or responsibility, when it comes to dog bite injuries. For example, California, Ohio, and New Jersey have what are known as strict liability laws.

Strict liability laws say the dog owner is liable for injuries caused by his or her dog in almost all scenarios. There are some exceptions, however. For example, if you were trespassing on the dog owners property, then you will probably not have grounds for a lawsuit. In addition, if you were taunting the dog by hitting it, then you will probably have little chance at winning a lawsuit.

If the attack occurs in a state like Texas or Virginia, then you may have less of a chance to win a lawsuit. This is because these states rely on what are known as "one bite" laws. Under one-bite laws, the dog owner is not liable the first time his or her dog attacks someone. Therefore, if you are the first person the dog has ever attacked, you might not have a good case against the dog owner.

However, there are some exceptions to the one-bite rule. In short, if you can prove that the dog had a dangerous propensity, you may still be able to have a case against the dog owner. A dog can have a dangerous propensity if he or she wears a muzzle for safety purposes, if the dog often snaps at people, or if the owner regularly warns other people that the dog may snap or bite.

Negligence in Dog Bite Cases

Even if the incident that caused your dog bite infection or injury does not meet the strict liability or one-bite standard, you still may be able to file a successful lawsuit if you can prove the dog owners negligent actions caused the attack.

A dog owner may be negligent if his or her reckless or careless behavior resulted in the dogs biting you. For example, if the dog owner disobeyed leash laws, which then enabled the dog to bite you, you should consider filing a lawsuit. Another example would be if the dog owner kept the dog in a pen that insufficiently restrained the animal.

Consulting a Lawyer about Your Dog Bite Infection

If you are unsure whether the dog owner was negligent or whether the dog owner can be held liable under the liability laws in your state, you should consult a personal injury attorney who has worked on dog bite injury cases in the past.