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How Do Personal Injury Laws Apply When Two Dogs Fight?

For the most part, “dog bite” laws apply when one person owns or is responsible for an animal, that animal hurts another person, and then that second person wants compensation for the attack. They’re called “dog bite” laws because they usually come up when a dog attacks a person, but they can apply to any animal so long as a person is responsible for them. But dogs don’t just attack humans—they will also sometimes attack other dogs. So what happens then?

The Status Of Dogs

Legally speaking, a pet dog is considered part of the owner’s personal property and not a person. This means dog bite laws don’t apply to them. However, if someone’s dog destroys your personal property, you’re entitled to fair compensation for it. For a dog, this compensation can be the difference in the dog’s value (which could be a lot if you’re raising a purebred) based on before and after the attack. It could also be the cost of the dog’s veterinary bills, including procedures, medicine, and boarding, depending on which one is higher.

Malice Or Negligence

While it’s fine to want the other dog’s owner to compensate you if the two pets got in a fight, it can be very hard to figure out which dog started it. Dogs will often start by barking or seem to play with each other before getting serious, and they might fight each other while off the leash in a dog park. People are supposed to keep an eye on their pets in dog parks, but that doesn’t always happen. In cases like this, both sides could end up paying for each other’s pet’s bills.

However, there are also times when a pet owner might have his or her dog attack another one intentionally. It’s not very common, but if it does happen you can often sue the other owner for punitive and emotional damages along with medical bill compensation.

Record Everything

When something bad happens to you, your property, or your pets, it’s almost always a good idea to take pictures and gather information. Both become useful later on when you’re trying to make a claim with the other person’s renter’s or homeowner’s insurance company and can come in handy if the situation ever goes to court. It’s especially important to get information about the other dog’s owner so you can contact their insurer, so if the owner decides to try and get away you should record as much as you can of the dog so you can possibly track them down later.

You should also record the injuries your pet took during the fighting. The damage will help explain the veterinary bills and it could help convince others that your dog was on the receiving end and not the attacker.

Hiring a lawyer could also help. At the All Injuries Law Firm, we handle both dog bite and property destruction lawsuits, so we can help whether a dog attacks you or your pet. We’re also familiar with how insurance companies work, and we can often get you a better settlement simply by helping negotiate your claim. After all, they know that our firm is ready and able to take a case all the way to court if that’s what it takes to get our clients the compensation they deserve. So if a dog has attacked and injured your pet, contact us today for a free initial case evaluation.