Strategies For Defending A Dog Bite Injury Claim

If someone sues you because your dog bit them, you may be liable to pay for their medical expenses and other damages. Some common laws used to hold dog owners liable for dog bite injuries include strict liability and negligence. However, a dog attack lawyer can help you defend an injury claim. Here are some defenses you can use against a dog bite injury claim.


If the plaintiff provoked your dog by taunting or abusing it, the owner may not be held responsible for the resulting attack. However, if the provocation was unintentional, assigning liability is difficult. 

For example, if a child taunted the dog, their provocation may be deemed unintentional. This is because children below a certain age don't see the harm in provoking a dog. Your dog bite injury lawyer will advise you whether or not a provocation defense will succeed.

The Victim Knew the Risk of Injury

You may be able to avoid liability if your lawyer can prove that the injured party knew the dog could injure them. For example, you might not be held liable if the plaintiff ignored a "beware of dogs" sign, or agreed to look after a potentially vicious dog.

This defense is mainly applicable when a dog hurts a veterinarian or other people who care for animals. Vets and pet groomers take the risk of dog bites as part of their job. However, whether this defense will exonerate you or not depends on the laws in your state. 

In some states, dog owners cannot use this defense if it is not included as an exception to the strict liability concept. In other states, dog owners are exempted from strict liability when an injured person voluntarily accepts the risk of being hurt by an animal.

No Duty of Care

Your dog bite injury lawyer can convince the judge that you did not owe the plaintiff any legal duty of care. One way of supporting this argument is by showing that you were not in control of your dog when the incident occurred. 

Another way to prove this is by convincing the judge that you did not know the dog was capable of biting someone. This was a common defense before the introduction of dog bite laws. If a dog had never bitten a person before and showed no signs of doing it, a dog owner would not be held responsible for a dog bite injury. However, in states that uphold one bite rule laws, this defense would not hold.