Can I Sue the Owner of the Dog That Bites Me?

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Posted by Ben Long

Dog attacks are frightening and dog bites can leave you seriously injured.  After the incident, you may be wondering if you can sue the dog owner.

A dog owner whose pet bites you is often liable for your injuries under Iowa law.  If the owner does not have sufficient assets to pay for your harms and losses, the first place to look for compensation is to their homeowner’s insurance to see if it provides coverage for your injuries.

Iowa Dog Bite Injury Compensation Roadblocks

There are a couple of roadblocks that might keep you from getting fair compensation for your dog bite injuries if you choose to sue the owner.

One roadblock is that some insurance policies contain exclusions that let them off the hook for animal-caused injuries.  This means that even if the dog owner has homeowner’s insurance, it may not cover animal bite-related injuries. For example, most rental insurance does not cover liability for dog bites.

Another roadblock involves the amount of time and money put into a lawsuit.  It may not be worth it to sue the dog owner because they don’t have enough assets for you to recoup your losses. If their insurance policy does not cover dog bites, and they don’t have enough in personal assets to cover your harms and losses, it may not be worth your time and effort to sue them.

It may also not be worth suing for small injuries.  If you were nipped and only required one doctor visit, it probably won’t be worth the effort of hiring a lawyer and paying them a 1/3 fee to get compensation.

An experienced Iowa personal injury attorney will analyze your claim during a free case evaluation and let you know if pursuing a lawsuit is a good idea.

Types of Damages for Dog Bite Injuries

There are several types of damages you could potentially seek from a dog owner.  These include compensation for:

  • Any medical bills related to treatment for your injuries.
  • Any lost wages for time off of work related to your injuries. This includes time off work for doctors’ appointments or physical therapy appointments.
  • Any property that was destroyed during the attack, including clothing.
  • If your pet was injured during the incident, you could get compensation for their medical bills as well.
  • Pain and suffering

The amount and type of damages someone can receive depends on their particular claim.  That’s why we urge dog bite victims to seek out advice from an Iowa personal injury lawyer to get specifics.

Iowa Statute of Limitations on Animal Attack Cases

You only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit or settle your dog bite claim.  This is known as the statute of limitations.  In Iowa, you have two years from the date of the attack to either settle or file.  If you fail to do one of these things, you will lose out on your right to compensation.

Don’t wait – you should speak with an experienced Iowa dog bite attorney as soon as possible after the incident to find out your rights and see if you should sue the dog owner. Call RSH Legal at 1-319-774-1783 or visit our website,, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.

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