When a dog bites you out of the blue, it can be traumatic. Many people forget the dogs are not always man’s best friend, and unfortunately, these bites often cause injury and lead to nasty infections.

According to recent dog bite statistics, there are 4.5 million bites per year, and one out of five of these bites become infected. How do you know if you should sue if a dog bites you?

Severity of injury

A small nip on the hand may not be deserving of a lawsuit, as you can usually clean and bandage a superficial scrape at home, no worse for wear. However, if a dog bites you and punctures the skin, draws blood or breaks bones, you will likely want to take action against the owner and his or her canine.

Relationship to owner

Knowing whether to sue after a dog bite can be tricky, especially if the dog’s owner is a close friend or family member. It can be difficult to think about acting against someone you know, but if the injury is severe enough it may be necessary.

Do you have a valid case?

If you do decide that you want to sue, you must first make sure that your case is valid. This means that you can prove the incident occurred and the owner is liable. To have a valid case, you must prove that:

  • A dog bit you, resulting in injury
  • You were on public property or lawfully on private property
  • You did not provoke the dog to bite you

What type of damages can you receive compensation for?

Due to the nature of the incident, an owner is liable to pay a fine of up to $1,000. On top of this, you may hold them accountable for the cost of:

  • Medical bills
  • Property replacement
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • Emotional cost

Dog bites are uncomfortable, to say the least. At most, they can do serious damage. If a dog badly bit you, you may have the right to seek compensation from the liable owner.