What Is Involved in a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

Who Is Liable If You’ve Had a Dog Bite?

One moment, a dog can be man’s best friend. The next, they may bite. This doesn’t mean dogs are dangerous animals — they usually act out if they’re startled, scared, protecting their humans or puppies, or feel threatened. Biting is also common during play.

However, dog bites do happen to random and unsuspecting people. There are 4.5 million dog bites every year in the U.S. And if you were injured due to a dog bite, you may be debating legal action. But who’s the one at fault? Here’s a guide on dog bite liability.

You Were an Invited Guest

Let’s say a family member or friend invited you over. Their dog just for whatever reason didn’t like you. You decide to try and pet doggo, and the dog responded by biting your hand. Who’s the one at fault if you were an invited guest and loved one of the homeowners?

Well, this depends. If anyone is lawfully on the owner’s property, they have a reasonable duty of care. However, negligence can be difficult to prove in court. In order to win your case, you’ll have to prove the homeowner failed to act. This includes failure to warn about the dog’s potential temper and failure to restrain the dog.

If you’re unsure about your situation, it’s recommended you speak to an injury lawyer such as justcallmoe.com first.

Past Lawsuits

With that being said, the dog owner is also liable if their dog has a history of biting people. Every state has its own “dangerous dog” laws. For the most part, a dog is considered “dangerous under the law” if they have attacked, bitten, inflicted severe injuries, or endangered the life of another human.

But there are ways for the dog owner to protect themselves from a lawsuit. A common example is the “beware of dog” sign in their yard. Whether you’re a guest or a bypasser, if you’re bitten by a dog, the sign acts as a warning and the dog owner won’t be held liable.


What if you’re a trespasser on someone’s property? Well, this depends.

There’s a reason a homeowner may have a dog on their property, and that’s to deter people like you. Some homeowners have guard dogs that roam their property and can attack/restrain uninvited guests. However, these dogs are well-trained and will bark first so you know their presence. They usually don’t attack unless they feel threatened.

Let’s say you had a legitimate reason to be on that person’s property and the dog bit you. You’ll likely be able to bring the case to court. But if you’re a trespasser, this ultimately depends on the state. Most states have laws ensuring that homeowners aren’t liable for any injuries inflicted on trespassers. This is especially true if you’re suspected of a criminal offense, such as burglary.

Did You Get a Dog Bite?

Who is responsible for a dog bite? Ultimately, the dog owner. But this depends on where the dog bite occurred, if the dog is considered to be dangerous, and what the dog owner did to protect others. It also depends on the person who sustained the injury.

While many of us are dog lovers, no one wants to get a dog bite. But if you got one, it’s important to know what to do, who’s legally liable for your injuries, and if you’re entitled to dog bite compensation.

Continue reading our blog for more facts and advice.