Dog bites are scary and can lead to serious injuries. Here is what you need to know if a friend or family member’s dog bites you.

What Can I Do If I Am Bitten By A Friend’s Dog?A dog is man’s best friend…until he isn’t. Most people love dogs and many of us are thrilled to spend time with our friends’ furry companions. But if a dog bites you, it can be difficult to know how to handle the aftermath. You may to deal with steep medical bills, take time off of work, experience pain and suffering, and maybe even have permanent scarring. At the same time, you are probably reluctant to sue a friend or family member—likely ruining the relationship. Read on to learn more about your options if you are bitten by a friend or family member’s dog.

A Dog Owner’s Responsibility

In all 50 states, dog owners bear the responsibility for controlling their dogs. This means that they have to follow their state’s leash and dog bite laws, and follow the laws of any state that they visit. If a dog owner allows his dog to run free without a leash, he or she may be liable for any damages that result if their dog attacks someone. If their dog isn’t required to be on a leash, the owner may still be responsible if their dog bites another person (or another dog).

In most situations, dog bite cases are resolved either through insurance or a lawsuit. But if a person owns a dangerous dog — that is, one whom they know to be aggressive or to have attacked other people or animals — the owner may be charged with a crime if their dog attacks someone. The penalties for this crime could include prison time and fines.

Dog bite laws are different in each state. In California, a dog owner is responsible for dog bites, even if the dog has no history of aggressiveness or attacking anyone. A victim of a dog bite can be compensated even if the owner of the dog was not at fault for the attack on public or private property. The only defense a dog owner has to a lawsuit is to prove that the victim somehow assumed the risk of being bitten. In Arizona, there is a strict liability dog bite statute. This means that dog owners are always responsible for a dog bite, even if their dog had never shown any signs of being vicious before, unless the victim provoked the attack.

If you are bitten by a dog and chose to sue the owner, you can be compensated for damages for any medical treatment you required, permanent scars, pain and suffering, and lost wages as a result of having to take time off of work. An experienced dog bite lawyer can evaluate your case and determine exactly how much compensation you may be entitled to receive as a result of your dog bite.

How Can I Sue A Loved One?

We are most often around the dogs of people that we know, which means that most dog bites come from the dogs of our friends and family members. This puts dog bite victims in a difficult situation: you have suffered an injury and deserve to be compensated for it, but you don’t want to destroy a relationship over money.

The good news is that, in most cases, you would not actually be suing your friend or family member. Instead, you would be filing suit against their insurance company, as homeowners or renters insurance usually covers these types of claims. If they have insurance, the money would most likely come from their insurance company — not out of their own pockets. This makes it easier for most people to decide whether to pursue a dog bite case.

You may also be concerned that your friend’s beloved pet will be put down if you report the dog bite or file a lawsuit. The laws on dog bites vary from state to state, but if this was an isolated occurrence, the dog will probably not be put down. Instead, the owner will have to work with your state’s animal control department to possibly register the dog as potentially dangerous.

Being bitten by a dog can be scary, and it can result in serious injuries. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you will need a skilled dog bite lawyer on your team. Your attorney can evaluate your case, advise you of likely outcomes, and help you if you decide whether to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner or the owner’s insurance company. Contact the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker today at 800-333-0000 or to learn more about how we can help you if you have suffered a dog bite.

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