How To Choose the Right Dog Bite Attorney for Your Case

Were you bitten by a dog? You’re not alone. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Of these, more than 800,000 dog bite victims need medical assistance.

The good news is that you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and other injury-related losses. To maximize your chances of success, you want to partner with an experienced dog bite attorney. In this article, we share a few tips on how to choose the right dog bite attorney for your case.

First Things First: Document the Incident

Before contacting a dog bite lawyer, take the time to write down the details of the incident as you remember them. Be as specific and detailed as possible. Ideally, you should do this right after the incident while the memory is still fresh in your mind. Your report should include the following:

  • The place, date, and time of day the dog bite occurred
  • Your actions leading up to the incident
  • If the dog’s owner was present, their actions before the incident
  • The site and circumstances of the incident
  • The names and contact details of any witnesses
  • The police incident report, if you or someone else called law enforcement
  • Any medical records and other documentation if you sought medical assistance
  • Other important details you find relevant to your case

The more details your attorney has, the better they can argue your dog bite case. Even a highly experienced lawyer would require your cooperation in building your side of the story and ensuring no gaps are present.

Know Your Legal Options

Next, you want to research your legal options so you can have an idea of what’s possible in dog bite cases. Being informed helps keep your expectations for your lawyer and the outcome of your claim realistic.

California has strict liability for dog bites. That means dog owners are strictly liable if their dog bites someone, regardless of whether they had actually been negligent in controlling the animal.

However, the dog owner may have a legal defense in the following scenarios:

  • You provoked the dog. If the dog bit you after you provoked, injured, or forced it, you likely won’t be entitled to compensation.
  • You were trespassing. California law defines trespassing as entering or remaining on another person’s property without the right to do so or the owner’s consent. If you trespass on private property, you typically can’t sue for personal injuries.
  • You assumed the risk. If you had warning of a dangerous dog but entered the property nonetheless, you may not be able to seek compensation, as you assumed the risk of a dog bite. However, this defense is a bit of a legal gray area. Your dog bite attorney will review your case and explain whether you can seek damages even though you had notice of the dog.

Keep in mind that just because the dog owner raises a defense doesn’t mean it will be successful. Dog bite attorneys know how to craft strong rebuttals, so you may win your case regardless.

Check the Attorney’s Experience

Our next tip on how to choose the right dog bite attorney is to check their experience and credentials. Many dog bite cases can be fairly straightforward, but others can escalate into complex legal battles if you develop complications like an infection or nerve damage that require extensive treatment.

To protect your interests and increase your prospects of success, you want an attorney with a deep knowledge of dog bite laws and a proven track record of winning similar cases. Start by checking the attorney’s website to verify their credentials. If the site has a dedicated practice area page specifically for dog bites, that’s usually a good indicator.

Don’t limit your research to the law firm’s website, though. Be sure to also check external review websites and lawyer directories for a more objective perspective.

Compare Reviews and Ask for Referrals

Positive client reviews are always a good sign. However, you want to make sure they come from unbiased third-party directories and not just from the law firm’s own website and social media pages. Ideally, there should be reviews specifically from dog bite victims. Some of the leading legal directories in the U.S. include:

  • Avvo: Avvo is a legal directory where you can find attorneys and law firms and read free consumer-oriented articles on various legal topics.
  • FindLaw: You can use FindLaw to find information about a specific legal issue or find various legal services.
  • features legal news, comprehensive guides on over 260 practice areas, and information about law firms and practitioners in the U.S. and more than 200 other countries.
  • Justia: Justia also offers legal guides for non-lawyers on various topics, as well as access to free attorney profiles and a pro-bono section. 
  • is an information hub with a lawyer database and articles spanning 1,000+ practice areas.
  • LegalZoom: LegalZoom has a handy local attorney directory where you can find a lawyer in your area.
  • Martindale-Hubbell: Martindale-Hubbell allows you to filter attorneys and law firm profiles by location and practice area.
  • Nolo: Nolo offers law materials, legal forms, software, and law firm/attorney profiles.
  • Super Lawyers: Super Lawyers is an attorney directory and rating service for legal practitioners.

If you know someone who has gone down a similar route in the past, you may also ask them for a referral to the lawyer they worked with.

Were You Bitten by a Dog in Orange County, CA? Call Us.

Just because California has a strict liability regime for dog owners doesn’t mean all dog bite cases are straightforward. Knowing how to choose the right dog bite attorney is critical if you want to maximize your payout.

At Khalil Law Group, our dog bite lawyers have many years of experience handling injury cases in Orange County. We can handle your claim too. To ask a question or tell us about your case, call (714) 617-7870 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

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