Rhode Island Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other losses. Many dog owners have insurance to cover these claims. Our experienced Rhode Island dog bite lawyers do not charge any fees unless you receive a settlement or award. See some of our largest dog bite settlements here. Call us 24/7 at (401) 200-3964 or fill out a contact form online for a free (no obligation) consultation.

RI Dog Bite: What You Need to Know

What Is a Dog Bite Injury?

In most cases, a dog bite will tear the victim’s skin and cause cuts and gashes that can leave them with scars. However, a dog does not have to break the skin or cause bleeding for a dog bite injury to occur. Dog bites can also cause internal injuries that affect nerves, muscles, and bones. According to Rhode Island General Laws § 4-13-16, the dog does not have to bite a person for it to be a dog attack; a dog attack is any injury caused to a person by a dog.

Can I Get a Dog Bite Settlement?

If you have been injured by a dog bite, you may be able to recover for your injuries and other losses by obtaining a dog bite settlement. In Rhode Island, dog owners are held legally responsible for the actions of their dogs. This means that if a dog bites someone, the owner can be held responsible for paying for the victim’s resulting injuries. Many dog owners have insurance policies that cover these incidents.

Typically, a dog bite settlement will compensate the injured victim for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other losses. Our experienced Rhode Island dog bite lawyers have settled many dog bite cases over the past 30 years, and we know how to get you the compensation you deserve. For a list of our best dog bite settlements, click here.

RI Dog Bite Law

The Rhode Island General law §4-13-16 allowing an action for damages caused by dog bites only applies to attacks that happen outside of the designated enclosed area the owner has for the dog. Also, the victim’s compensation doubles if the dog had previously injured someone.

What Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?

If our firm is successful in proving your dog bite case, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, scarring, pain and suffering, and other losses. Read more. The amount you recover will depend on the extent of your injuries and the details of your dog bite case.

What Is the Legal Fee?

The standard legal fee in personal injury cases is 1/3 of the settlement or award. We charge the standard 1/3 fee only if you receive a settlement or award in your case. Until then, there are no fees charged while we build your strongest case.

Why Do Dogs Attack?

According to the American Kennel Club, dogs attack for many reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • ProtectingIf a dog is protecting or guarding something important like a toy, food, or their owner, they may attack someone who tries to get too close. This is likely because the dog wants to protect against someone taking their food, toy, or harming their owner, regardless of whether a real threat is posed.
  • FearFear is the cause of most dog attacks. If a dog is fearful, they may have no other way to protect themselves than by biting what they perceive to be a danger.
  • Anger: If a dog is angry or frustrated, they may become overwhelmed and have no other way to express this than by biting. Dogs often get angry when they feel held back or restrained, which is why people are often bitten, even by dogs who are on leashes. 
  • Play: Playful biting that results in no injury to the victim is common and normal in dogs. However, sometimes dogs take play too far and their bites can result in serious injuries.

What Are Some Common Dog Bite Injuries?

Some common injuries from dog bites include cuts, puncture wounds, and bruising. More serious injuries from dog bite attacks may include broken bones, crushed organs, and loss of body tissue. When severe, these injuries can leave a victim permanently disabled, deformed, or with scarring that acts as a daily reminder of the attack. In addition to physical injuries, victims of dog bites may also suffer emotionally. Psychological distress, anxiety, and phobias can affect people after an incident. Possible dog bite injuries include:

  • Bruises
  • Cuts
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Infections
  • Broken Bones
  • Scarring
  • Anxiety, Depression and Phobia of Dogs
  • Rabies
  • Amputations 
  • Wrongful Death

Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite Injury?

Under Rhode Island law, the owner of the dog or their insurance company must pay for the injured victim’s losses. In some dog bite cases, the owner is not the party responsible for compensating the victim for their losses. If the dog was in the care of a kennel or another individual when the attack occurred, the kennel company or other individual may be responsible. Another person who is potentially liable is a landlord if they allowed a tenant to own a dangerous dog. Landlords may be liable for dog bite injuries if they allowed a tenant to own a dangerous dog. If a minor (person under the age of 18) owns a dog that has bitten someone, then the minor’s parents may have to pay costs of the dog bite injuries. Read more.

What Are Some Potential Defenses You Can Expect?

  • Provocation: If the victim of the dog attack provoked the dog or in any way abused the dog, the owner may not be responsible for compensating the victim. If you have any questions about dog bite defenses, a Rhode Island dog bite lawyer can help.
  • Assumption of Risk: In certain circumstances, a dog owner is not responsible for compensating a person who was bitten by their dog. Specifically, if a person works in the pet industry, such as in a vet office or as a pet caretaker, they have typically assumed the risk of being injured by an animal and cannot sue for dog bite injuries they’ve sustained. 
  • Trespassing: Sometimes, trespass can be an exception to Rhode Island’s dog bite statute. Usually if someone trespasses onto someone else’s property or is on another person’s property doing something illegal when they are attacked by a dog, the owner of the dog will not be liable even if they had knowledge that their dog was dangerous. 

What Should I Do After a Dog Bite Injury?

If you have been bitten by a dog, first, seek appropriate medical attention and be sure to tell your treating doctor the details of the incident so they can document the severity of your injuries. Next, it is important to get as much information as you can about who owns the dog and how the incident occurred. Get the name, address, and contact information of the dog’s owner. Talk to any witnesses that may have seen the dog bite occur and get their names and contact information. Document everything you can about the scene of the incident and exactly what happened, including taking photos, if possible. Also, take photos of the bite itself to provide evidence of the extent of your injuries. 

A Rhode Island dog bite attorney taking photos with his smartphone.

It is also important to file a police report with the proper authorities. While there is no official protocol for reporting dog bites under Rhode Island law, the RI Department of Environmental Management provides some guidelines on actions to take when it comes to reporting dog bites. Click here for more information. 

Finally, consider hiring a Rhode Island Dog Bite Lawyer to determine whether you have a claim and can recover for injuries you or a loved one sustained in a dog bite incident. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it is important to hire an experienced Rhode Island dog bite lawyer who will advocate for you to ensure that you are compensated for your losses and injuries. Dog bite laws can be complicated as they vary based on city, county, and state codes and laws. Our dog bite attorneys have over three decades of experience in settling dog bite cases. They also know how to deal with insurance companies to get you a maximum settlement. Fill out a contact form or call us at (401) 200-3964 today for a free (no obligation) consultation about your dog bite.

What Is the Typical Treatment for Dog Bites?

The treatment for your dog bite will depend on the type and severity of your injury. It is important to seek medical attention right after a dog bite and to talk with your doctor about your best treatment options. Typical injuries caused by dog bites include cuts and puncture wounds, which can require stitches or even surgery to repair. These types of injuries can often cause scarring and plastic surgery may be needed to reduce the visibility of the scar. Other injuries can result in permanent muscle damage, tissue damage, or broken bones, which may require extensive treatment and ongoing therapy.

Focus is on a broken leg as a person walks with crutches.

Mental injuries like anxiety, depression, and PTSD may also require ongoing professional treatment. These conditions can disrupt and limit a person’s daily life. For example, some dog bite victims are unable to socialize with friends who own dogs, go for walks, or visit public places like parks because of the trauma caused by a dog attack.

What if I Was on Someone Else’s Property?

If a dog attacked you on the property belonging to the dog’s owner, the “one-bite rule” applies. This means that the dog’s owner is only responsible for compensating you for your injuries if the dog has a history of violently attacking people in the past. Under certain circumstances, however, the court may find the dog’s owner liable, even if the attack happened on the owner’s property, if they failed to properly care for or control the animal. Contact an experienced dog bite attorney to learn more.

How Long Do I Have to Bring My RI Dog Bite Claim? 

Under Rhode Island law, each personal injury claim has a “statute of limitations,” which is the time a victim has to bring a claim for compensation against the other party. For dog bites, the deadline to file a claim is three years from the date of injury. It is important, however, to contact a Rhode Island dog bite lawyer as soon as possible so that your claim can be filed right away. Dog bite cases can be complicated so having enough time to gather witnesses and evidence is crucial. 

Some of Our Dog Bite Lawsuit Results

Award AmountType of Case
$400,000.00Our client was a young boy who was attacked by a dog while at a friend’s home. The dog latched onto the boy’s nose requiring him to undergo plastic surgery.
$350,000.00Our client was attacked by a dog and suffered severe bites that required surgery and skin grafts.
$300,000.00Our client was bitten on the ankle by a dog and sustained deep puncture wounds and required physical therapy.
$300,000.00Our client was bitten on the face and chest by a dog and sustained deep lacerations and puncture wounds. She received an out of court settlement from Safety Insurance.
$217,000.00Dog Bite / Premises Liability
$300,000.00Our client sustained a serious dog bite to the face and underwent reconstructive surgery. Our firm maintained joint responsibility with another attorney, who settled the case out of court.
$155,000.00Our client’s arm was seriously injured and required surgery after an unprovoked dog bit her. The dog had a history of biting others.

Dog Attacks on FedEx, Amazon, UPS, or Food Delivery Drivers

In 2021, more than 5,400 postal workers were attacked by dogs in the U.S. Additionally, drivers for Amazon are at an increased risk of suffering dog attacks because customers are able to request back-door and garage deliveries, potentially making delivery drivers vulnerable to unseen dogs. Despite most delivery drivers being trained in how to deliver to customers without startling a dog, with the rise of food delivery services, dog bites and dog attacks are becoming harder to control as unregulated services often don’t adequately train employees on avoiding the risks.

Food delivery services like Grub-Hub, Uber Eats, and Postmates certainly make getting food and groceries more convenient than ever for customers. But employees of food delivery services often are not trained in avoiding the dog bite and dog attack risks that postal workers and package couriers are aware of.

Some things couriers can do to prevent dog attacks and dog bites include avoiding body language a dog might perceive as threatening, like swinging your arms when walking, or trying to pet the dog.

If a dog is attacking, try to use the package as a shield between you and the dog. If the dog knocks you down, play dead and curl up into a ball using your arms to protect your neck, face, and ears. Do not fight back if the dog bites and remain calm and still.

How Do You Find a Good Dog Bite Lawyer?

When looking for a Rhode Island dog bite lawyer, search engines can be useful tools to connect you to a lawyer’s website. The first important thing to determine is where a lawyer is licensed because you will need an attorney who is licensed to practice law either where you live or where the dog bite occurred. 

It is also important to look for a lawyer who has extensive experience handling these types of cases. At d’Oliveira & Associates, our lawyers have decades of experience handling dog bite cases and can help you win yours. 

Choosing a lawyer who has a good record of obtaining maximum settlements for their clients is also important. Click here to read about the settlements our clients have received. 

Lastly, you may want to read reviews from former clients to see whether they had a positive experience with the attorney you are researching. Click here to watch real former clients of d’Oliveira & Associates tell their stories. 

Why Should I Hire a RI Dog Bite Lawyer?

Hiring a d’Oliveira & Associates dog bite lawyer takes the guesswork out of the complicated process of handling dog bite claims. Our attorneys will take care of all the important paperwork and communications with insurance companies for you. Insurance companies often try to take advantage of injured victims, but with decades of experience, our lawyers work to get you the compensation you deserve. If a settlement is not possible, our attorneys are not afraid to fight it out in court on your behalf while you focus on your recovery.

More Resources Related to Dog Bites

RI Dog Leash Laws

What to Do After a Dog Bite

Child Dog Bite Safety

Dogs Are Biting People with Covid-19 Masks 

Dangerous Dog Breeds

Contact Us

After a dog attack, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other losses. You are likely to recover more compensation having an experienced dog bite lawyer on your side to investigate and deal with insurance companies. To discuss your dog bite case with an experienced RI lawyer, contact d’Oliveira & Associates anytime 24/7 by calling (401) 200-3964 or by filling out a contact form for a free case evaluation.

d’Oliveira & Associates Personal Injury Attorneys
390 Broadway Providence, RI 02909 

Free Case Evaluation (401) 200-3964