Defenses to a Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit in Rochester

The strategies available to owners to avoid being held liable during a dog bite-related civil action, as well as dog owner liability for bites and injuries, vary by state. A typical defense used by owners is the assertion that the wounded party provoked the dog, was trespassing, no actual injury happened, or that the injured party voluntarily accepted the risk of harm. Owners may also seek to disprove key elements of the plaintiff’s case. Click here to get the help of a defense lawyer.

What are some defenses?

The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant is accountable for the incident that caused the harm in any personal injury action, including claims involving dog bite injuries. The plaintiff must provide proof that persuades the court or jury that it is “more likely than not” that the plaintiff’s account of the events is accurate. Depending on the dog owner culpability laws in effect in a particular state, the plaintiff will need to provide evidence.

On the other side, a successful affirmative defense enables a defendant to prevail even when the plaintiff has established all necessary components. The defender offers further evidence that supports an “affirmative” defense, as opposed to contesting the plaintiff’s case by claiming that the evidence is insufficient. The statute of limitations is a typical illustration, if the defense can show that the plaintiff did not file the action in a timely manner, the plaintiff would lose their otherwise winning case.

There was no bite:

No matter how frightened the plaintiff may have been or how violent the dog gets, there is no legal basis for a dog bite claim if there was no real harm. Even though the dog made every effort to bite the plaintiff, if the animal was unsuccessful, a crucial component—compensable harm (is lacking.


The owner may be able to escape responsibility for the plaintiff’s injuries if it can be proven that the plaintiff was trespassing at the time of the bite. In order for the animal owner to be held accountable, most states’ dog bite laws provide that the victim must have been “lawfully on the property” when they were bitten. Find out more about a homeowner’s responsibility if their dog attacks a visitor.

Final thoughts:

Were you accused of being a negligent pet owner after a recent dog attack? Set the record straight by hiring a lawyer to defend your case. 

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