Understanding Your Legal Rights After Getting Attacked by a Dog and Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Understanding Your Legal Rights After Getting Attacked by a Dog and Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Dog attacks can be quite vicious, even from a small breed, and may leave a person with serious physical and emotional scars. These attacks can be compensated in a personal injury lawsuit, providing you with the money that you need to recover. Thankfully, a good Boston personal injury lawyer can provide you with the information and assistance that you need to make these lawsuits more successful.

Even Friendly Dogs May Bite

The friendliest dog with the biggest smile may strike out at others without warning for various reasons, such as:

  • Defense – Though a person’s behavior may not seem threatening to others, dogs may perceive it as such and, therefore, bite a person to defend themselves, their puppies, or others in their family.
  • Prey Drive – Even well-trained dogs have instincts to hunt, and startling a dog or running away from them can turn into aggression if their prey drive kicks in and they fall into their instincts.
  • General Fear – Some dogs are more fearful than others and may find new situations, such as being left alone with a person, scary and may bite out of defense or agitation.
  • Sickness – When a dog is sick, they may bite someone out of agitation and frustration, not meaning to do harm but simply unable to express themselves in other ways.

Often, this type of biting situation is also connected to the behavior of a person. Some people may not understand how to interact with a strange dog or may act in ways that the dog perceives as aggressive. The complexities of this situation can be hard to understand without legal help.

Pursuing a Lawsuit

When a dog attacks you and you are seriously injured, a good lawsuit can pay for your medical bills, lost work time, pain and suffering, and emotional issues matka caused by the attack. Pursuing this type of lawsuit is likely to not only result in financial compensation but in the dog being put down. So make sure you are ready to take those steps before you begin this process against the dog owner.

State laws typically vary on dog bites, with some having more strict rules and regulations. For instance, Michigan dog bite laws include two different statutes that define when a lawsuit can be pursued and when they cannot. These statutes can be broken down into a few different elements:

  • Location – Bites must occur on public property owned by the state or on private property, as long as the plaintiff is legally on that property, such as visiting a friend or standing near their own home.
  • Provocation – When someone provokes a dog into biting them, either deliberately in an attempt to start a lawsuit or accidentally by not following warnings or obvious signs of agitation, they are negligent.
  • Past Behaviors – Michigan recognizes that even a friendly dog may attack unprovoked, but will weigh past actions by the dog and the dog owner into account.

These factors all influence whether or not a case is likely to be won. For instance, someone who is on a friend’s property who goes to pet a dog and gets bit without provocation is likely to win. However, if that same person has been teasing the dog with food and was warned by the owner multiple times to stop before they got bit, there is a very strong chance that they won’t win the case.

Likewise, someone who is legally invited to a property who then breaks the law – such as attacking the property owner, their dog, or attempting to steal anything – who is attacked by a dog is also considered negligent in these cases.