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How Serious Can a Dog Bite Be and When to Sue

Dogs are a human’s best friend – until they’re not. In rare cases, where you don’t own the dog, you may fall victim to a dog’s random aggression while walking on the streets. In this case, should you just run for your life or decide to preserve your rights and sue the dog owner? Unfortunately, there is no general rule when it comes to dog bites, and state laws differ depending on your area. However, you can rest assured that you have rights if you suffer sufficient forms of physical and/or emotional damage, and here’s how to know when you can sue for these damages.


Dog Bite Categories

First, we’ll need to explain how dog bites are categorized so you can understand how much damage is enough damage to sue. Keep in mind that some bites can cause infection, in addition to the severity of the bite. Dog bites are categorized into six levels as follows.

  • Level 1

At this level, no physical damage or teeth-to-skin contact has occurred. It’s limited to aggressive behavior expressed by the dog, mainly to scare the subject away. 

  • Level 2

Here, the dog’s aggression has grown to the level of biting the skin, although no puncture wounds have been made. 

  • Level 3

A level 3 bite is one where one or more teeth puncture the skin, although the depth of the puncture doesn’t surpass half the length of the teeth. Most of the dog bite cases fall into this category.

  • Level 4

Just like a level 3, level 4 indicates 1 to 4 teeth puncture wounds, although the depth of the wound is deeper than the length of the canine. The victim may present with deep bruising from the dog’s ferocious behavior in addition to the wound. 

  • Level 5

Level 5 describes multiple level 4 bites. 

  • Level 6

At this level, the dog’s aggressive behavior has resulted in the death of the subject.

When to Sue for a Dog’s Bite?

So when do you sue the owner for their dog’s aggression? It may not always be simple to know. In these situations, it’s better to seek an expert’s advice for guidance. Taking a leaf out of the legal experts at Legal Legends book, they explain at https://legallegends.com/ why you need to seek a specialized personal injury lawyer and not just any lawyer that comes your way. As it turns out, many personal injury laws dictate every case, each of which is customized to the state they’re operating in. 

An experienced lawyer will be able to assess the damages and explain to you whether you have a case or not. Even if an inexperienced lawyer tells you you don’t have a solid case, a specialist will consider the emotional damage you’ve suffered and then build a solid case accordingly. It’s definitely worth considering multiple options.

What Kind of Compensation Should You Expect?

Once you have a solid case, you can have some expectations as to the kind of compensation you can get. You can expect to get compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills for treating the injuries inflicted by the dog’s bite, including the past, present, and future bills. 
  • Compensation for damaged property resulting from the bite, like clothes or electronics
  • Lost wages resulting from taking time off to recuperate following the accident
  • Collateral expenses resulting from the accident, like hiring a caretaker
  • Compensation for permanent disability
  • Emotional damage expressed in the form of distress, anxiety, or PTSD
  • Any other additional costs you have endured or are likely to endure as a result.

Settling Vs. Going to Court 

With the help of a good lawyer, you’ll have two directions in which you can proceed. The first one is settling the case with the dog owner or their insurance company without the hassle of courts. Most cases end this way but make sure you’re compensated well for all the damages incurred. In case they refuse to settle or pay the full compensation amount, you may be forced to take your case to court to preserve your rights. 


How to Build a Strong Case

There are a few things you should take care of if you find yourself facing an aggressive dog. As a rule of thumb, make sure to seek medical attention immediately and follow doctor’s orders to the T. On your way, remember to take pictures of all your injuries from multiple angles. Keep in mind that you should report the accident to the nearest authorities and get the contact information of as many witnesses as you can.  Finally, make sure to get a report for all medical procedures, bills, and costs you’ve endured throughout your treatment process. 

Falling victim to a vicious dog’s bite can be traumatizing. However, whether or not you have a case will largely depend on the severity of the bite. To be sure your rights are preserved, it’s best to seek the guidance of a professional lawyer


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