top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatthew Crist


The typical dog bite lawsuit is generally well known - a person is walking along and gets attacked by an off-leash dog, suffers bites, and sues. Generally speaking, the victim can recover rather substantial damages with some regularity. However, there are many other types of injuries that are caused by dogs that can result in successful lawsuits or settlements.

As a dog owner myself, I am very mindful of ensuring my dog’s leash is clean, properly restraining my dog, and that I keep a close eye on her. My dog is so affectionate to people, but I make sure to keep a close eye on her because even her positive energy can result in injuries.

Pictured to the right is my beautiful and happy Australian cattle dog, mixed with other unknown breeds. We rescued her about 6 years ago and she has been a joy.

I have fielded numerous dog-related injury cases and I have resolved two notable cases by settlement for my clients. Only one of my cases was the typical scenario of a vicious dog attacking and biting the victim; in most cases, a dog simply charging at a person can result in injuries - whether the dog is playful or attacking is largely irrelevant.

I mentioned earlier that I keep my dog’s collar clean because one case I worked on, the dog owner said he was very sorry because the latch on his dog’s collar was rusty and regularly stuck in the open position; that was functionally an admission of negligence, the case quickly settled.

The typical case is structured as a negligence matter - the dog owner has a duty to keep control of his dog, fails to do so, the dog charges at the victim, and the victim is harmed (whether by mauling, falling, or something else).

There are historical cases such as a young man riding on a motorcycle through a neighborhood. Unfortunately, a dog owner negligently permitted his dog to run off leash, the dog ran in front of the motorcyclist who then fell and suffered significant injuries. Such an injury is outside of what people generally think about with dog-related injuries; but that case will likely recover damages, none-the-less.

While far outside of the norm, there are even cases including things like a pet rattle snake that was negligently permitted to escape and the snake scared the victim causing him to flee in fear; in fleeing, the victim fell and was injured. Such injury should, without complicating factors such as an unreasonable reaction to the snake, result in a reasonable settlement or jury verdict in the victim’s favor.

Dogs bring such joy to our lives - however, it is important that we keep them properly leashed and controlled. Even a positive, happy, and playful dog can cause catastrophic injuries to others.

If you have been injured by a dog, whether by a bite or something else, please send me a message through my contact portal and I will review your case for free in a 30-minute telephone call.

Additionally, take a look at my blog on 3 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT - the advice therein equally applies to personal injuries caused by dogs.

60 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


COVID-19's impact on Virginia businesses may result in old defenses being used in new ways. You may be able to navigate this difficult time


  • LinkedIn
bottom of page