If you are pursuing a dog bite case, one approach the defendant can take is to try and disapprove your case. The defendant can do this by claiming the following:
The Attack Never Happened
This is basically saying that you are lying and you were never bitten by a dog. A dog owner can make this claim if they believed your injuries were caused by another thing, but not the dog. Maybe the dog barked and scared you, causing you to lose your footing and fall. Both you and the dog owner may need the services of expert witnesses to confirm or disapprove whether your injuries are really dog bites.
You Were Bitten By a Different Dog
This defense applies in a case where you have actual dog bites or scratches but the defendant believed that their animal isn't responsible for the injuries. This may be the case, for example, if the animal's owner believed that their animal wasn't at the scene of the attack when you were injured or that there were other dogs that could have caused your injuries. For example, if you were attacked by a pack of dogs owned by different people, they may start pointing fingers at each other and deny liability for the attack.
The Defendant Doesn't Own the Dog
The defendant can also claim that even though the dog you have identified did bite you, they don't own the dog. Consider an example where a homeowner rents out their property to a dog owner, and the dog ends up biting you. If you go after the homeowner, they can successfully argue that they don't own the dog and shouldn't be held liable for its actions. This underscores the need for identifying the right defendant (dog owner) before filing an injury claim.
The Defendant Wasn't In Control of the Dog
Dog bite liability doesn't just apply to dog owners; anybody who is temporarily in charge of a dog becomes responsible for the injuries caused by the dog during that time. For example, if you leave your dog under the care of a neighbor while taking a vacation, the neighbor also becomes liable for the injuries the dog may cause while you are away. If you are basing your claim on this principle, then the defendant can escape liability if they can prove that they were not in charge of the dog during the attack. For example, a neighbor who you thought was taking care of a dog can argue that the animal wandered onto their side of the fence and they weren't really taking care of it.
A personal injury attorney understands all these defenses and will know how to counter them depending on the circumstances of your injury. In short, you stand a better chance with a lawyer than if you try to handle the case alone.