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Do I have to prove the dog that attacked me was vicious?

This is a difficult question. If you read many articles on the internet, they will mistakenly state that you have to prove that the dog that attacked you had a history of aggression. And while that is true for one cause of action that you can assert, it is not true for all claims you can make. In many cases, we’re able to make a recovery for a client even when there is no history of aggression by the dog.

Of course, from the perspective of the value of the case, it is better to prove that the dog had a history of aggression. In dog attack cases, there are several elements of damages that you are entitled to recover, including costs of medical care, earnings you lost because of the attack, pain, mental anguish, physical impairment (what things did the injuries prevent you from doing or make it more difficult for you to do), and scarring/disfigurement. Reading about them on their face, the extent of these damages shouldn’t depend on whether the dog had a history of aggression, but in reality, there are several factors that affect what a jury awards for these amounts. For example, if the dog has a history of being a vicious dog, the award will be higher. If the dog is considered to be a dangerous breed, the award will be higher. And the larger the dog, the higher the awards tend to be.

If the dog has a history of attacking people, it may be ordered euthanized and the owner may be held criminally liable in dog attack cases that involve serious injury and/or death.

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