Seeking Justice: What to Do If You’re Bitten by a Stranger’s Dog


It’s a sunny day, the type where the sunlight seems to paint everything golden, and you are out for a serene stroll when the unexpected happens. A sudden, sharp pain reverberates through your leg, pulling you out of your peaceful reverie. As you whirl around, startled, you’re confronted with the sight of a dog, a stranger’s pet, its teeth embedded in your flesh.

This unfortunate episode leaves you shaken, questioning the security of your environment, and seeking retribution for the unexpected harm inflicted upon you. In this elaborate discourse, we intend to equip you with a detailed understanding of the appropriate steps to be taken after such an unfortunate encounter, your legal rights and options, hiring Houston personal injury attorneys, and the potential damages you may be able to claim. With this knowledge at your disposal, you can confidently stride towards justice, and ensure your proper recovery.

Interpreting Dog Bite Laws

Dog bite legislation in the United States represents a mosaic of state statutes and local ordinances, each with their own unique nuances such as Arizona dog bite laws. Although the specifics might differ across jurisdictions, there exist two widely recognized legal standards in this realm: the “one bite rule” and the strict liability principle.

Unraveling the “One Bite Rule”

A significant number of states adhere to the “one bite rule.” According to this principle, the liability for damages resulting from their dog’s actions rests on the owner only if they were aware, or reasonably should have been aware, of their dog’s propensity for aggressive behavior, such as biting. The rule is predicated on the assumption that after a dog’s first biting incident, the owner becomes cognizant of the animal’s potential danger.

Decoding Strict Liability

Conversely, some states have embraced the strict liability standard in cases pertaining to dog bites. As per this rule, the owner can be held accountable for damages irrespective of their awareness of the dog’s aggressive tendencies or the pet’s past behavior. This stipulation liberates the victim from having to demonstrate the owner’s prior knowledge or negligence in the matter.

Furthermore, there are local ordinances which impose more detailed regulations, such as leash laws or breed-specific legislation, thereby influencing the legal outcomes of dog bite incidents within their purview.

Crucial Actions Post a Dog Bite

Prioritize Immediate Medical Care:

Your paramount concern after a dog bite should be your health and physical well-being. It is imperative to seek professional medical attention posthaste, irrespective of the perceived severity of the bite. The reason for this urgency is that dog bites can incubate harmful infections, and there is always the lurking threat of rabies transmission. Therefore, a professional medical evaluation and the corresponding treatment are non-negotiable.

Collect Pertinent Information:

Acquiring the contact information of the dog’s owner is crucial. This data will become indispensable when filing insurance claims, creating police reports, or initiating legal proceedings.

Read Also: Here is What You Need to Do, If Your Kid is Afraid of Pets

Officially Report the Incident:

Reach out to your local animal control agency and report the dog bite incident to them. The agency will duly document the incident and probe further into the matter, especially if the dog’s vaccinations are not current or if the canine poses a public safety risk.

Preserve the Evidence:

As soon as feasible after the incident, take photographs of your injuries. Aim to capture clear and precise images of all wounds, bruises, or visible imprints left by the dog bite. The location of the attack should also be photographed to provide a detailed account of the event. This visual evidence can significantly bolster your case, and a personal injury lawyer from, for instance, can substantiate your claim for damages.

Maintain a Thorough Record of Events:

Keep a meticulous account of all medical treatments and procedures undertaken, which could include hospital visits, medications, consultations, therapy sessions, and rehabilitation programs. Hold onto all pertinent documents related to your treatment and recovery, such as medical bills, invoices, receipts, etc. These records could prove crucial when filing insurance claims, negotiating settlements, or potentially launching a lawsuit.

Potential Damages You May Be Entitled To

Following a dog bite incident, you could be entitled to claim various forms of damages, depending on the intensity of your injuries and their impact on your life. Here are a few common categories of damages you may claim:

Medical Expenses:

Reimbursement for your medical costs incurred, including but not limited to, emergency treatments, surgical procedures, prescribed medications, rehabilitation programs, physical therapy, and any continuous medical care. This compensation would cover both current and future expenses correlated to your dog bite injuries.

Loss of Income and Wages:

Should the dog bite prevent you from maintaining your regular work schedule, you might be entitled to seek compensation for lost wages and income. This claim includes not just the income missed during your recovery period, but also potential future earnings if the injury leads to long-term or permanent disability.

Pain and Suffering:

A dog bite can inflict not just physical pain but also result in emotional distress, trauma, heightened anxiety, and psychological suffering. Therefore, you may be eligible to claim damages for the pain and suffering experienced as a direct consequence of the incident.

Scarring and Disfigurement:

In the event of the dog bite leading to permanent scarring or disfigurement, you could be entitled to seek compensation for the physical and emotional toll these enduring reminders of the incident inflict upon you.

Rehabilitation and Therapy:

In certain cases, injuries from dog bites necessitate extensive rehabilitation, physical therapy, or psychological counseling. Compensation can be sought for the costs associated with these essential treatments aimed at facilitating your recovery and rehabilitation.


A dog bite can be a harrowing and potentially life-altering incident. But armed with a thorough understanding of your rights, prompt action, and qualified legal counsel, you can navigate the course towards justice and ensure you receive due compensation for your injuries. Remember to prioritize your health, collect evidence, officially report the incident, and diligently preserve all relevant records.

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I am Jessica Moretti, mother of 1 boy and 2 beautiful twin angels, and live in on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. I started this blog to discuss issues on parenting, motherhood and to explore my own experiences as a parent. I hope to help you and inspire you through simple ideas for happier family life!


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