Creating A Rock Solid Defense

Defenses You Might Face In Your Dog Bite Injury Claim

Defendants in dog bite cases can use a number of defenses to deny liability or lower their compensation. State laws and the circumstances of the attack determine the viable defenses. Below are some defenses to expect.


Dog bite trespassing defense claims mean that the dog attacked you because you were on another person's property without permission. The rationale is that you are responsible for your injuries. This defense makes sense because many people also use dogs for security against criminals.

However, trespassing is not an absolute defense. For one, you can overcome the defense by proving you had an implicit invitation to the property.


The defendant might avoid liability for the attack if they prove your actions provoked the dog into attacking you. In this case, the defendant has to prove how your actions provoked the dog. Note that provocative actions can be intentional or unintentional. For example, accidentally picking up a dog's toy might constitute provocation, even if you didn't know it was the dog's toy.

Again, the defense doesn't automatically mean you can't recover your damages. For example, some states don't allow provocation defenses for overly sensitive dogs. Similarly, the defense might not hold if the victim is a minor who unintentionally provoked a dog.

Lack of Control

Dog injury victims automatically think of dog owners when pursuing compensation. However, people other than the dog owner can be held liable for a dog bite. For example, if a dog under the care of a third party attacks you, the person caring for the dog may be liable for your injuries.

In such a case, the defendant might argue that the animal was not under their control at the time of the attack. Say a dog attacks you at a veterinary clinic while the dog's owner is present, and you sue both the owner and the vet. The vet might argue that the dog wasn't under their control. In this case, you must link the defendant to the dog or widen your list of defendants.  

Assumed Risk/Negligence

Lastly, the defendant might argue that you were negligent or knowingly put yourself in harm's way. Consider a case where you can see and hear a dog barking on private property, but you enter the property anyway. The property's owner can claim that you knew the risk when you entered their property.

For more information, reach out to a personal injury lawyer.