What are the potential outcomes of a dog bite lawsuit?

dog bite lawsuit can have several potential outcomes, depending on the circumstances of the case and the applicable laws in the jurisdiction. Here are some possible outcomes

Liability Determination

The court may first determine whether the dog owner or another party is liable for the dog bite. This involves assessing factors such as the dog owner’s negligence, violation of leash laws, or knowledge of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.

Damages Award

If the court finds the defendant liable, it may award damages to the plaintiff. These damages can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, and property damage caused by the dog bite.


Before or during the trial, the parties may choose to reach a settlement agreement. This involves negotiating a mutually acceptable resolution, often involving a monetary payment from the defendant to the plaintiff. Settlements can help avoid the uncertainty and costs associated with a trial.

Insurance Coverage

If the dog owner has homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, the insurance company may step in to handle the claim. In such cases, the insurance company may negotiate a settlement or defend the dog owner in court.

Dog Ownership Restrictions

In some cases, the court may impose restrictions on the dog owner’s future ownership of dogs. This can include requirements such as muzzling the dog in public, attending dog training classes, or even ordering the removal of the dog from the owner’s care.


Either party may choose to appeal the court’s decision if they believe there were errors in the legal process or if they disagree with the outcome. Appeals can lead to a review of the case by a higher court, potentially resulting in a different outcome.

Criminal Charges

In certain situations, if the dog bite resulted in severe injuries or death, the dog owner may face criminal charges, such as negligence, reckless endangerment, or even manslaughter. These charges are separate from the civil lawsuit and can result in fines, probation, or imprisonment.