Can you sue dog owner?

New York law allows you to sue only within 3 years from the date the bite occurred. Most dog bite lawsuits are personal injury cases handled in civil courts. However, there are times when you may want to press criminal charges against the owner.

If you’ve been attacked or hurt by a dog, you may be wondering if you have a legal avenue to pursue compensation. As a victim of a dog attack, you may be able to sue the dog’s owner for damages. To do so, you will need to understand the laws of your state and the rights of the dog owner. In this blog post, we will discuss the legalities of suing a dog owner, the elements necessary to create a successful case, and the legal remedies available for those injured by a dog attack. We will also provide an overview of the steps you may need to take in order to pursue a successful case. With this information, you can make an informed decision about whether suing a dog owner is right for you.

Dog Bite Injury Claims and Owner Liability

Before discussing potential dog bite defenses, it is important to understand that a dog owner may generally be held liable for a victim’s injuries if one or more of the following apply:

  • a legal principle known as the “one-bite rule” that makes owners liable if they knew their dogs posed a danger
  • “strict liability” dog-bite laws in most states that make owners responsible even if they didnt know the dog could be dangerous, and
  • laws or court decisions that make negligent dog owners liable if they were unreasonably careless in controlling their animals.
  • Many states don’t enforce dog-bite laws if certain conditions are met, most frequently if the victim provoked the animal or was trespassing. Some of these laws demand proof from the victim of the bite that they were not at fault rather than proof that the animal’s owner was at fault. And if the owner’s liability is based on the one-bite rule or negligence rather than a dog-bite statute, some defenses might be available.

    If the injured person clearly provoked the animal, for example by hitting or taunting it, dog owners will almost certainly be off the hook. However, what about other less obvious provocative behaviors? Depending on the situation, courts may absolve dog owners of responsibility when victims unintentionally provoke dogs by:

  • accidentally stepping on their tails (see Brans v. Extrom, 701 N.W.2d 163 (Mich. Ct. App. 2005))
  • petting strange animals when theyre eating or chained up
  • intervening in a dog fight, or
  • spraying repellant on a dog in self-defense (see Steichman v. Hurst, 275 N.E.2d . 679 (Ill. App. 2d 1971)).
  • Toddlers are prone to hugging strange dogs, patting them hard, or playfully pulling on their tails. If the dog responds by biting the child, can the animals owner use the provocation defense? The answer partly depends on the wording of the relevant state law and how the courts interpret it. For instance, in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the dog-bite statutes presume that an injured child younger than seven didnt provoke the dog, which means that the owner would have to prove there was provocation (Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 140, § 155; Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22-357). Courts in some states have ruled that the provocation exception in a dog-bite statute applies even when the victim was very young (see, for example, Reed v. Bowen, 503 So.2d 1265 (Fla. App. 1986) and Toney v. Bouthillier, 631 P.2d 557 (Ariz. App. 1981)). Other courts have found that this defense doesnt apply to three-year old children, because they arent responsible for their actions or arent capable of provoking a dog (see Ramsey v. King, 470 N.E.2d 241 (Ohio Ct. App. 1984)) and Smith v. Sapienza, 115 A.D.2d 723 (N.Y. App. Div. 1985)).

    When a dog hurts someone, its owner might be able to avoid legal responsibility based on the victim’s actions.By

    When their dogs bite people or harm them in another way (such as by knocking them over), dog owners are typically held legally liable. That means a victim of a dog bite may file an insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the animal’s owner to recover damages for losses caused by the attack, including medical costs.

    However, the claimant’s liability for the animal’s owner could be diminished or completely eliminated if:

  • provoked the dog
  • was trespassing or breaking the law at the time of the injury
  • voluntarily risked getting hurt by the dog
  • cant show that they were actually bitten, or
  • contributed to the injury by being unreasonably careless.
  • A look at a dog owner’s liability when their animal bites someone or causes some other type of injury.By

    This article covers some fundamentals, whether you’ve been hurt by someone else’s dog or you’re a dog owner who wants to know how liability usually works if your pet injures someone. Heres a snapshot:

  • A dog owner can often be held legally and financially responsible if their dog bites or otherwise causes injury to a person, but the laws that dictate liability vary from state to state.
  • An injured persons options might include filing a claim with the dog owners homeowners insurance company, or filing a personal injury lawsuit over the matter.
  • Its important to consider whether the dogs owner might be able to rely on certain legal defenses to an injury claim.
  • FAQ

    Who is legally responsible for the actions of a dog?

    Dog-bite statute: Even if the dog doesn’t bite anyone, the owner is still automatically responsible for any injuries or property damage the dog causes. “One-bite” rule: In some states, the dog’s owner is not responsible for the animal’s first bite.

    How much money can you get from a dog bite?

    Dog bite lawsuit settlements are typically worth between $30,000 and $50,000. If the attack left you with only minor injuries, be prepared to receive a lower offer. The dog owner might make you that kind of settlement in order to avoid going through the court system.

    Can I sue the owner of a dog that killed my dog?

    Legal Action You can only file a wrongful death lawsuit if a person was killed. The person who killed your pet is still liable in a civil lawsuit, though. Your attorney will provide proof that the defendant’s negligence directly contributed to the automobile accident that resulted in your dog’s death.

    Can I sue for a dog bite in Tennessee?

    In Tennessee, a dog owner may be strictly liable for personal injury or property damage if: The victim was hurt while in a public place; The victim was hurt while legally inside a private space.