What Should I Know About Making a Dog Bite Claim in D.C.?

It is common for families to have canine companions. Dogs are typically friendly creatures but can exhibit aggressive tendencies and behavior that can endanger those around them. In D.C., if you are attacked and bitten by a vicious dog, you may be able to recover reasonable compensation for your injuries. D.C. law does not only cover dog bites but also injuries caused by other types of vicious dog behavior. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury from a dog bite, contact our devoted Washington D.C. Injury Attorneys who can assist you in recovering reasonable damages for your injuries.

Does D.C. Allow a Contributory Negligence Defense for Dog Bite Claims?

In D.C., dog bite injury claims are filed as negligence. This means a victim must prove that the dog owner failed to use reasonable care to control their dog which led to their injury. D.C. does not allow dogs to run “at large” without proper control (like a leash) or supervision. D.C. allows a contributory negligence defense which is a dated doctrine that only a few jurisdictions still allow. Under this rule, any negligence by any means on the part of the injured person may bar them from recovering compensation. If they were even just 1% at fault for the incident they cannot recover damages for their injuries.

What Are Exceptions to Liability?

A dog owner may not be held liable for any injuries that resulted from the victim tormenting, provoking, or abusing the dog into attacking them. If the victim was trespassing or attempting to commit a crime, the dog owner may not be held liable. If the victim was bitten on the owner’s property without consent to be there, their recovery may be limited or barred altogether. If the dog was defending itself or its property, the dog owner may not be liable for any injuries inflicted.

What is the Statute of Limitations For a Dog Bite Injury Claim in D.C.?

The statute of limitations for a dog bite injury claim in D.C is three years. Meaning, you have three years from the date the injury was inflicted to file a claim. If you fail to do so within this timeframe, you will be barred from ever doing so in the future. You can file a claim anytime within those three years but you should act quickly. If you miss the deadline, you will miss any opportunity to recover damages for your injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog-related incident, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced attorney.


Contact the experienced personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at Trombly & Singer, PLLC for help with your injury claim.