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Support Your Dog Bite Claim

Dog Bite
Dogs may be known as man's best friend, but a confrontation with a hostile canine can be scary and potentially dangerous for even the most stalwart dog person.

Obviously, a peaceful resolution is the preferred ending to a tense encounter with an aggressive dog. You can learn more about methods to reduce the risk of dog bite incidents in this previous blog post.

However, if you are unable to prevent a bite, you must know how to support your potential personal injury claim. Just as you would after a car accident, you should begin collecting evidence of the incident as soon as possible to preserve information for your healthcare providers and personal injury attorney.

In this blog, we discuss which types of evidence are usually necessary and most persuasive in dog bite claims as well as how to proceed with evidence collection.

Evidentiary Support

Personal injury law is intended to allow victims of other people's recklessness or negligence to collect damages that cover medical care, loss of income, pain and suffering, or other expenses. However, in order for your claim to be successful, your attorney must prove certain facts about the incident.

In a dog bite personal injury claim, the victim's burden of proof includes showing that:
  • All cited injuries came from the dog bite
  • Cited injuries had significant impact
  • The cited dog is the one who bit the victim
  • The dog's owner failed to take reasonable action to prevent the attack
  • The dog's owner should have or did know the dog could be a danger
Other aspects of the situation may also be considered. For example, victims cannot collect damages if they were committing a crime, such as trespassing on the dog owner's property, at the time of the bite.

You may also need to focus on different aspects of your claim depending on the exact circumstances. For example, if your child is the victim and you were not present, you may be able to testify about the dog's previous behavior, but a judge will decide if your child is a reliable witness on his or her own behalf.

Evidence Collection

Some of the facts about dog bite claims can be difficult to prove. Your attorney may rely on a number of types of evidence to strengthen your case. Common elements of dog bite personal injury claims include:
  • Analysis of conditions the dog was kept in and of the treatment it received
  • Circumstances surrounding the incident, such as any provocation and where it came from
  • Expert testimony regarding the dog breed, medical conditions affecting behavior, etc.
  • Medical bills and records from emergency responders, plastic surgeons, and so on
  • Photographs of injuries and the scene
  • Psychological reports
  • Records of the dog's previous behavior
  • Victim statements
  • Witness testimony
To facilitate the evidence gathering process, start as soon as possible after the event. Contact animal control, keep the clothes you are wearing, report the attack to law enforcement, take down information of the owner and witnesses, photograph your injuries, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Request as detailed of records as possible. For example, your evidentiary documents should include a copy of any reports and citations issued by law enforcement at the scene.

Use these guidelines as well as any specific recommendations from your personal injury attorney to ensure that you have as much evidence on hand as possible. Collecting adequate evidence allows your attorney to build a strong case that clearly illustrates the owner's liability for the bite, the dog's involvement, and the effect on your life.

For experienced legal representation in a dog bite personal injury claim, trust the team at Rothstein Law Group.