When a dog bites, the first thing many people ask is whether there a sign. Did the property have a sign saying that you should beware of the dog, and was it displayed where you could see it?

If so, the sign can factor into the case in a few different ways. Every case is different and every set of circumstances has to be considered on its own, but there are two main things that the sign could suggest.

First off, it could mean that you knew there was a danger and put yourself in a risky position. Some say that if you then went on the property anyway, you assumed the risk. You knew the dog might bite long before it did, you were willing to go near it anyway, and so the injury is at least partially your fault.

However, it’s possible to argue that the sign actually makes the property owner liable. It shows that the owner knew that the dog was potentially violent. This is often referred to as knowing that the animal had “vicious propensities.” You may then be able to argue that the owner knew about the dangerous animal, didn’t do enough to keep the public safe and directly caused you to be injured.

Again, every case is different, so the facts of your specific case can help govern how the sign will be viewed and what it could imply. However, if you think a negligent dog owner put you in harm’s way, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills, time you missed at work, and things of this nature.

Source: FIndLaw, “Do ‘Beware of Dog’ Signs Legally Protect Dog Owners From Lawsuits?,” Daniel Taylor, accessed March 29, 2017