Unfortunately, many dog owners are not responsible with their animals. In fact, it’s quite reasonable to argue that the biggest cause of dog bites has nothing to do with dogs, but with the people who are in charge of taking care of those dogs.
There are differences on a state-by-state basis as to how much liability that a pet owner has four their pets. According to the III.org, approximately 1/3 of states have laws where owners are strictly liable for what their dogs do. In other states, owners are really only liable for what their dog does if there was reason for that owner to suspect that their dog may bite.
Whether or not you should sue someone over a dog bite is really a personal decision. There are some things that you should take into account, however.
If It’s Bad
A dog attacking a human being with a great deal of viciousness is abnormal behavior. Dogs, quite simply, are animals that are highly socialized to live with human beings and, in the vast majority of cases, a dog will only bite if it feels that it is defending its territory, it’s family or itself. Overly aggressive dogs are not behaving normally and, if a dog bites you when you did absolutely nothing to provoke it, it may be the case that the dog is going to continue biting people until something is done about it.
Additionally, you obviously should not have to pay for medical bills that were incurred because somebody else did not properly take care of their dog. Suing may give you enough money from a jury settlement to take care of those bills.
If It’s Not
In order to sue someone, you have to have been harmed in a way that can be quantified in dollars. You cannot say that you were threatened, felt intimidated or were nipped with no damage done and that somehow constitutes you deserving compensation. A very good lawyer may be able to get you compensation for such a lawsuit, but most of them will turn you down outright with such a claim.
If it isn’t a bad bite, visiting a physician, making sure that everything is okay and hashing it out with the owner may suffice. If you are seriously injured by a dog, however, you may want to consider talking to a personal injury attorney to get compensation so you can pay for the damages.