Four Things That Can Derail Your Dog Bite Injury Claim

2 June 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog

It is generally understood that you can claim personal injury damages against a dog owner if a dog bites you. However, there are some instances in which your claim may not be successful. For example, your claim process may hit a snag if you did the following.

Took the Risk Knowingly

One of the dog-bite defenses available to dog owners is that the injured victim knowingly placed himself or herself in harm's way. Therefore, if that is the situation with your injury, then you may not be able to claim any damages.

For example, those who use guard dogs usually post signs such as "Be Aware of Guard Dog on Duty." Suppose you are an uninvited guest to who ignores the sign and enters the guarded area. If the dog bites you, then you can't claim damages since you knew of the risk beforehand.

Provoked the Dog

It is difficult to pursue a dog bite claim if you provoked the dog. This is the general position in most states, but there are other factors that will be considered by the court. For example, it is difficult to get a successful claim if you beat a dog and it bites you; that's an outright provocation. Other forms of provocation include trying to pet a strange dog, stepping on its tail, or taking its food.

Were Breaking the Law

Many states do not allow plaintiffs to recover personal injury damages if they were breaking the law at the time of injury. Therefore, the court may want you to prove that you were not breaking the law when the dog bit you, and failure to do so may make your claim devoid. For example, if you were stealing the neighbor's apples when his or her dog bit you, then you may not claim any damages.

Were Trespassing

Lastly, your claim can also hit a snag if the defendant claims, and the court agrees, that you were trespassing on the dog owner's premises. This means you were on the dog owner's property without his or her permission and for your own purposes. For example, say you see a relic car in a neighbor's compound and jump over the fence to examine it closer. If you are bitten by the neighbor's dog, then it will be difficult to claim because you were trespassing.

Note that these are gross generalizations, and there are lots of exceptions that may allow you to recover a claim. Also, the laws may differ in your state. For example, your claim may be successful if your child (a minor) provokes a dog who then bites him or her. Therefore, you should only decide whether to drop a claim after consulting a personal injury lawyer like Frank L. Slaughter Jr. PC.