How to Take a Dog Bite Case to Small Claims Court

dog teeth

Many dog-bite disputes never make it court due to negotiations between the injured person and the dog owner or insurance company.  If you were injured by a dog, there are a few different options you have to take the case to court.  Small claims court is typically recommended because in most states you can sue for up to $10,000.

First look up the law to see if there is a dog-bite statute in your state.  Oregon has a one-bit rule stating that a dog’s owner is liable for injuries the dog causes only if the owner knew or had reason to know that the dog was likely to cause that kind of injury.

In states where there is no dog-bite statute, the common law rule can apply.  To win under a common law you must prove that the owner knew (or should have known) that the dog was likely to cause the kind of injury suffered.

A final option is to try and prove a dog owner was negligent.  Typically you must prove the dog’s owner knew that the dog was dangerous.  Some limitations may apply depending on the theory of the lawsuit.

When negotiating the compensation it is important to look at the monetary costs as well as the pain and suffering.  Make sure to have all your medical costs ready for court and any documentation to help prove your case.