Your dog may usually be very well-behaved. You want to be able to trust your dog to play nicely with other people and dogs, but that doesn’t mean something can’t go wrong. Try to be cautious and conscientious about your dog and the way they react to different situations. You never know when they might get upset and bite someone.
If your dog bites someone, there is a good chance you will be held liable for any injuries they cause. If the injured person can’t cover their own expenses with insurance, they may come to you expecting compensation.
Dog Bite Dangers
Even minor dog bites can be dangerous. There’s a significant risk of infection if the wound is left untreated, and the victim will need a rabies shot if your dog isn’t vaccinated. That alone can be surprisingly expensive.
The potential costs only increase as the bite increases in severity. Bites that tear skin will require emergency medical attention. Depending on where the bite was, it may mean physical therapy or even facial reconstruction surgery. For children especially, the trauma alone may call for long-term psychological treatment.
Personal Injury Claims After a Dog Bite
Getting sued is never a laughing matter. All lawsuits can be time-consuming and expensive, but a dog bite settlement can add up to tens of thousands of dollars when it’s all said and done.
The victim bringing the lawsuit will present evidence of all the financial cost and emotional suffering involved in the accident, and those will determine the final damages you have to pay.
In some states, you will be automatically at fault for any harm caused by your dog. In other states, however, the law specifies that you’re only at fault if you were negligent in avoiding a bite. This usually requires that your dog had a history of biting or that you had reason to believe there was a risk.
Keeping Everyone Safe
As a dog owner, it’s in your interest to do everything you can to keep yourself, your dog, and the people around you safe. You don’t want anyone to get hurt, and you don’t want to have to deal with a lawsuit either. However, this is also important for your dog. Dogs with reported attacks on humans may end up being put down if they are repeat offenders.
Take the time to train your dog well to help prevent attacks. Take care of your dog and watch how they act in different situations. What sorts of things surprise them or make them nervous enough that they might lash out? If your dog isn’t ready to play without a leash or be surrounded by a group of neighborhood kids, then make sure you don’t put them in those situations.
Finding Legal Counsel
While it’s up to you to be proactive in keeping your dog out of situations it’s not ready for, you don’t have to be alone in protecting yourself legally. If you’re worried about a lawsuit, seek out a lawyer you can trust who has experience in similar cases and find out what your options are.