Dog bites are terrifying experiences, and many victims describe being shocked that a peaceful dog they were petting suddenly turned vicious. Dog bites can happen in a variety of places, such as in public or on someone’s private property.

Regardless of where they happen, accident victims injured by dog bites should meet with a lawyer to see if they can request compensation from the dog owner and applicable insurance that might cover these types of attacks.

Dog bites are serious injuries and often cause complications. Anyone injured should immediately head to the hospital to have their wound inspected and cleaned. Many times puncture wounds from dog bites cannot be stitched up, but there is plenty that the doctors can do, including fending off infection.

In the more serious dog bite cases we’ve handled in Vermont and New Hampshire, victims have been immediately taken into the operating room for plastic surgery. After you have taken care of yourself, call Sabbeth Law to schedule a consultation with our Vermont dog bite lawyer to review your legal rights. We have decades of experience helping injury victims like you seek justice.

Vermont’s Law on Dog Bites

Unlike many other states, Vermont does not have a dog bite statute. Instead, you will rely on judge-made rules to seek compensation for a dog bite. Vermont follows what’s called the “one bite” rule, which is a slightly misleading title.

Essentially, you can sue the dog owner if he or she had knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities. This knowledge could be in the form of the dog biting a person before (the “one free bite” rule), but it could also be an attack where the dog didn’t bite anyone. In fact, a dog coming on to your property and menacing your cats or dogs or other animals can end up causing injuries to the owner of the property who tries to stop such an attack. In other non bite related dog cases, owners have been held responsible under their homeowner’s insurance policy for dogs that have run out into the road and caused car accidents. 

If you can show the animal had a history of vicious or otherwise dangerous behavior, you can sue the owner for negligence. This is one reason to contact a lawyer at Sabbeth Law. We can review records to determine if the dog had a history of violent or dangerous behavior. We can also analyze the owner’s actions to see if they were careful in how they handled the dog. An unleashed dog allowed to roam freely is a danger to everyone and could form the basis of a lawsuit.

6 Reasons Dog Bites Are So Serious

Any dog bite should be taken seriously. They can cause significant complications, some of which might be fatal. The best thing to do is to go to the hospital soon after the attack so that you can address the following:


Dogs have many germs growing in their mouths, which get transferred to your bloodstream when bitten. Some of the worst infections include Pasteurella infections that lead to cellulitis. Remember that even small dogs can cause an infection even if they can’t bite deeply.


This is a deadly virus that you can thankfully avoid if you are promptly vaccinated after a bite.


Dogs can slice into veins, which can bleed uncontrollably. The best way to stop bleeding is to apply pressure using a clean cloth or piece of clothing. A doctor can also cauterize a vein.

Nerve Damage

Teeth can slice into nerves, causing permanent damage and chronic pain.


A dog’s strong jaws can break bones, especially in the arms or hands. Fractures need to be set carefully so that bones will fuse properly.


Any mauling can leave a victim with permanent scars as a reminder of the attack. These scars can cause permanent emotional trauma.

Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury

Victims should seek compensation to cover the costs of medical care and other losses. The dog’s owner could have a homeowner’s insurance policy which can cover the cost of a settlement or jury verdict, whereas other owners might have resources like money in the bank.

We regularly seek damages for:

  • Emergency room care, stitches, pain medication, antibiotics, and tests.
  • Doctor visits and rehabilitation for serious bites.
  • Surgical costs.
  • Lost income, wages, and benefits.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Mental trauma and emotional distress.

Some injuries could be worth six figures or more, while others might be worth only a few thousand. Instead of assuming the dog bite is too minor to bother with a personal injury claim, schedule a meeting with a personal injury lawyer.

Time Limits / Statute of Limitations

Generally, injured victims get only three years to bring a personal injury lawsuit for a dog bite. What happens if you go past this deadline? The defendant can ask a judge to dismiss your case, and you won’t be able to file later. That means you will probably not get any compensation and need to fully pay your own medical bills.

Reach out to Sabbeth Law today. We can begin collecting relevant evidence and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in court before the deadline. We also are experienced in negotiating settlements that make going to court unnecessary.

Call Us to Get Started

Dog bite cases are fact-specific and require significant preparation. Contact Sabbeth Law as soon as possible to improve your chances of obtaining fair compensation.