Establishing Liability in DC Dog Bite Cases

If you were attacked by a dog due to the negligence of its owner, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed with a claim. While you might have a legal right to pursue compensation, navigating the legal system alone can be confusing.

Therefore, if you require professional assistance in establishing liability in DC dog bite cases, do not hesitate to reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer could work to gather evidence, interview key witnesses, and guide you through the necessary procedures so that you can spend more time focusing on your medical recovery.

Who is Tasked with Establishing Fault?

The plaintiff who brings the lawsuit always bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is liable in a dog bite case. Simply put, this means the individual who was attacked bears the burden of showing that the dog was vicious and that the dog caused the injuries that they are alleging. On the other hand, the defendant could attempt to prove that the injured the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.

A plaintiff might demonstrate negligence can by, for example, showing that the dog often barked at bystanders, had attacked other animals in the past, or had attacked other people. Often, these are the three primary ways negligence can be shown in these cases. This can be difficult to establish if there is no documented record, however, but the authorities generally do good job of documenting any prior reported incidents.

Contributory Negligence Jurisdictions

Under DC law, any partial liability on the part of the plaintiff completely precludes recovery. This is called a contributory negligence jurisdiction, and there are only three of them in the country, including Maryland and Virginia.

This means that if someone is even 1% responsible for causing an accident, they are entitled to zero damage recovery. Therefore, even if the plaintiff is the least partially responsible party, they will not be able to recover injury compensation. Naturally, this applies to dog bite cases in DC, meaning that establishing the source of liability is vital for an injured plaintiff.

Typical Process Length

There are typically two parts to any case: a pre-suit and a lawsuit phase. The pre-suit investigation in a dog bite case is usually not very thorough. Generally, they will complete a lawyer request for the D.C. Animal Control Record, take statements from anyone who saw anything, and collect any relevant pictures and medical records. This phase will often take six months.

The next phase is actually filing the lawsuit and seeing it through to completion, which usually takes 12 to 18 months in DC. Generally, a case can take two to three years from the moment of the bite to its completion. If you have recently suffered a serious injury at the hands of a negligent dog owner, consider reaching out to an attorney experienced in establishing liability in DC dog bite cases today for your initial consultation.

Call an Attorney for Assistance with Establishing Fault in a DC Dog Bite Case

Following an animal attack, you might be looking to pursue compensation against a negligent pet owner. However, due to the nuances involved in establishing liability in DC dog bite cases, working with a seasoned lawyer might prove to be beneficial. To learn more, reach out to a dedicated attorney today to schedule a consultation.