2 Common Defenses Employed In Dog Bite Personal Injury Cases

If you find yourself as the defendant in a dog bite personal injury case, there are two types of primary defenses that are employed. Throughout the course of this brief guide, you will learn about these two types of defenses.

Affirmative Defenses

An affirmative defense is simply a case where the defense's story, or case, is affirmed, or proven to be true. One of the most common examples of an affirmative case is one where the plaintiff was trespassing on the defendant's property when the dog bite took place. If it can be proven without a doubt that the plaintiff was, in fact, trespassing, then the defendant will not be held liable for damages. It also could be the case that the plaintiff provoked the dog or drew its ire, in which case the defendant may very well not be held liable for damages. In most cases, affirmative defenses are preferable to the alternative. However, some states disallow the use of affirmative defenses in dog bite personal injury cases due to the fact that they have strict laws regulating such cases that often times work in the plaintiff's favor. Many affirmative cases wind up ending with a comparative negligence verdict in states where that is an option. This is to say you will be found liable for a percentage of the damages incurred by the plaintiff. You will not be held liable for the full amount of damages.

Disproving A Plaintiff's Case

Disproving a plaintiff's case requires that the case for which the plaintiff is arguing is either incorrect or irrelevant. The former simply involves literally disproving the plaintiff's case either by making the argument that their narrative is unreliable or that the events of which you are being accused did not take place, altogether. The latter usually revolves a legal phenomenon known as duty of care. Duty of care is the burden of proof that you were either not in control of the dog during its actions or that you do not own the dog in question. The former may lend itself to you owning the dog but someone else caring for it at the time of the attack, and the latter revolves around you perhaps caring for the dog in question but not owning it.

Throughout the course of this brief guide, you have hopefully learned a bit about some of the arguments that you can use to your advantage as a defendant in a dog bite personal injury case.  Contact a personal injury attorney for more information.