Who Should You Sue If You Get Bitten by a Dog?

We love dogs, don’t we? They’re fluffy, cute, almost too good to be true, and they are man’s best friend. They are truly the best unless they are vicious, run after you, and bite you in whatever they can get their mouth on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that over 4.7 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every year. Out of that number, a staggering 800,000 will need a trip to the hospital.

But here’s the information that might even shock you further: a rabies shot for those who get bitten by dogs can cost as much as $6,500. Sometimes, it can climb up to $10,000. Does your health insurance cover that? It depends on your policy. The cost of the rabies shot varies per state, but you will need a series of these shots in two weeks. The cost might be shocking, but it’s lifesaving. Did you know that rabies you get from dogs, cats, and other animals have a 100% fatality rate? This means that if you don’t get the shot and rabies spread to your system, you will most likely die.

That’s why it’s important to know what to do after getting bitten by a dog. More importantly, you should know who to sue and who has to pay for the treatment and the shots. State laws vary when it comes to dog bites, so you have to get a personal injury attorney to guide you through the process. The lawyer will determine who is responsible for the attack, as well as if you have a chance at winning the case.

Knowing Your Rights

As mentioned above, laws differ per state regarding who is responsible for your accident. You need to know your rights to determine who will pay for the damages to your person. If you fall ill and miss work because of the incident, the person responsible for it should compensate you. But can you just pursue a case against the dog owner? In most states, you can sue the owner of the dog even if this is the first time that the dog acted aggressively. In other states, it might be more complicated.

Did You Provoke the Dog?

Some laws protect the dog and the owner, too. If the investigation led to the belief that you provoked the dog, the dog owner might not be liable for the incident. Teenage kids often do this to larger dogs. The problem is when dogs break free from their leashes or their fences and run after these kids. If the lawyer can prove that they provoked the dog, the victims will not receive compensation.

dog teeth

Are You Trespassing on Private Property?

If a dog bit you because you entered a private property, the property owner could file a case against you for trespassing. What if it was an abandoned property and you didn’t know there was a guard dog there? That still doesn’t give you the right to pass through the property. You need to pass through public streets and roads only. If the area is unmarked, unpaved, and cordoned off, it only means someone owns that property privately. If anything happens to you there, you might be held responsible despite feigning innocence.

What Will Happen If You Knew the Dog Had Violent Tendencies?

If you have been living in that community for a long time, you probably know which dogs have violent tendencies. Why would you go near the dog and provoke it if you knew about its aggressiveness? This is one of the things that a lawyer will look into. If you are aware of the violent tendencies of the dog, you should have kept your distance when you see it. Did the dog attack someone in the past?

If you can prove that you’ve done your best to stay out of the dog’s way and not provoke it, then the dog owner will be responsible for your hospitalization. The owner should have known about the dog’s history of aggression. The right course of action would be to retrain the dog or keep it on a tight leash or have a higher fence in the house.

You should never ignore a dog bite. Before thinking about talking to a lawyer about whom to sue, go and have yourself checked in a hospital first. This is the first thing you have to do. The other issue will follow. Of course, once the lawyer looks over the merits of the case, you can get the best legal advice to follow.

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