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Richards Law Dog Bite 101

A recent study reported that 1,000 Americans are treated in emergency rooms everyday as a result of dog bites. And while dogs are the most common culprits of such an offense, other pets such as ferrets, snakes, and even cats can cause harm. Since determining one’s legal rights in such circumstances can be difficult, it would be in your best interest to get in touch with an animal bite lawyer. Essentially, he or she will be able to clarify who you should bring your claim against and what sort of damages you are entitled, hopefully ensuring you get some sort of compensation.

During a meeting with an animal bite lawyer, the lawyer will ask for details surrounding the events, the when and where the bite took place. If you can, you should provide the name and telephone number of the pet’s owner. Also, if there were any witnesses, you should attempt to get their contact information as well. From there, the success of your case may be dependent on what state you were bitten in. Some states impose “strict liability”, a term that suggests an owner of an animal is legally responsible for that animal. Therefore, even if the owner tried to stop the animal from biting you, he or she is still liable and can be taken to court.

That would be the best case scenario if you were bitten by someone’s pet. However, some states will only hold the owner responsible if you can prove that the owner knew that the animal had “dangerous propensities”, which is a challenge at times to prove. You may have a better case if the pet in question is a pit bull or rottweiler, as they are commonly known as the two breeds most likely to attack (as well as the number one and number two “canine killers of humans”

Children are the most frequent targets of dogs. Boys aged from 5 to 9 having the highest incidence rate. It is also important to note that severe injuries occur nearly exclusively in children aged 10 years or less. If you, your child or any one you know have been bit badly enough that you need to go to the hospital, then an animal bite lawyer should be considered. You may be entitled to recover for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. If you can prove that the owner was using reckless behavior or intentional misconduct, you may also be entitled to punitive damages.

Beware that just because you’ have been bitten by a pet does not mean you are always in the right. Legitimate defenses in animal bite cases are “assumption of the risk” and “contributory negligence”. In this case, if the owner warns you to stay away from a certain pet and you ignore their warning, or if you are trespassing on someone’s yard with a sign marked “BEWARE OF DOG”, then the owner may not be considered liable.


Being bit by someone’s pet can be a painful, traumatic and anxiety filled situation, especially considering that most attacks involve a family member or friend’s pet. If it can be settled out of court, then by all means, do that. However, if you are re out a lot of money because of your in-laws, neighbors or business owners dog, call an animal bite lawyer.

For a Free Consultation call Attorney Ray Richards 313-694-8400.