If you were bitten by a dog, then a lawsuit is one of your primary tools for securing compensation. Unfortunately, these lawsuits can vary quite a bit between states. It's important that you understand the laws in your specific state, since those will be the guidelines for your lawsuit going forward. Here are some of the most important legal questions that you need to ask when it comes to filing a dog bite lawsuits in Delaware:
How long ago did the bite happen?
Your biggest immediate concern is determining exactly when the bite happened. If the bite happened too long ago, then you may have exceeded the statute of limitations. In that case, your lawsuit will be much more difficult to win.
In Delaware, the time frame that you need to know is 2 years. This limit applies to personal injury cases in general as well, so it's a good number to know for future reference.
What is the one bite rule and does it apply to your case?
Many states use the one bite rule to determine liability in dog bite cases. The general idea is that the owner is not liable for a dog bite if the dog had not acted aggressively in the past and had not bit anyone. In states that do not practice the one bite rule, the owner can be liable even if they had no reason to suspect that their dog was capable of such violence.
Delaware falls into the second category and has some very specific laws on the books regarding exactly how liability is handled in dog bite cases. As long as you were injured by a dog and were not trespassing or provoking the dog, then there is a good chance that the owner is liable for the injury.
What kind of injuries qualify?
Delaware is somewhat unique in that it doesn't restrict such lawsuits to dog bites. If a dog knocked you over or caused you some other form of injury, then you can potentially win a lawsuit. Other states are much more strict and won't allow you to file a dog bite lawsuit unless you were clearly bitten.
Were you trespassing at the time?
If you were trespassing, then your chances of winning the lawsuit will drop significantly. If the defense can prove that you were trespassing, then you won't be given any money at all. If you are still intent on filing a lawsuit, then you should be absolutely certain that the defense cannot prove that you were trespassing at the time of the injury.
Did you provoke the dog?
If you antagonized the dog in some way before you were bitten, then you won't be able to win any money. In such an event, the owner can't be held liable for damages because you are mostly to blame for your own injuries. However, this does assume that the court finds that you provoked the dog, which will require evidence on the side of the defense. If that evidence doesn't exist or is not presented, then you don't have much to worry about.
Provocation can also get a bit murky since there isn't a clear definition for what actions exactly constitute provocation. If you shouted at the dog and hit the dog, then you obviously provoked the dog, but most cases are much more subjective. For this reason, determining whether you provoked the dog will come down to how the court feels about your case.Share