Would civil court be the next best step after a dog bite incident?

Asked over 5 years ago - Denver, CO

My wife was bitten by a dog and after several months and a jury trial, the dog owner was found not responsible for the dog biting my wife. The owner claimed my wife was trespassing, so the dog acted defensively. What happened was my wife was with a friend checking the friend's laundry at the "dog's" house and was invited in by the dog owner's son. Within seconds of entering the house, without warning the dog latched on to the back of her leg causing lacerations and tearing her pants. A report was filed with animal control and she went to the emergency room. After the jury trial, the owner claimed my wife had trespassed (although she was let in the door and never told to leave) so now we have a hospital bill that we can't pay for and we are wondering if we can go after the dog owner in civil court for restitution.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. William Robert Falcone

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . Civil Court is still a possibility after an aquital in a crimnal case. Keep in mind that you lost once, and could lose again under your set of facts, but the issues are somewhat different, and the burder of proof is different in a civil case. I have handled a number of dog bite cases, and you must be creative in demonstrating the prior viscious propensities of the dog, as known by the owner, as well as the owners negligence in controling the dog, and keeping him away from others. I would be glad to speak with you about this matter. It sounds like youmhave already invested alot of time in the matter, and will likely have to do so again.

  2. Laura Mcfarland-Taylor

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I'm confused by your question - was the first trial a criminal trial?

    If it was a criminal trial then yes, you could file a civil suit, but my question is: if you can't afford to pay your wife's medical bills how will you pay for a civil suit? What if you lose? What if you lose and the court awards the other side attorneys' fees and costs (meaning you would have to pay their attorney fees and costs for the civil litigation)?

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