Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites are traumatic experiences for victims and their families. In addition, these bites cause emotional distress and may require immediate medical attention. Therefore, it is essential to consult an experienced dog bite lawyer to determine the best options following a dog bite.
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Dog Bites and Attacks
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), over 69 million U.S. households own a canine companion. Unfortunately, while dogs can make beautiful additions to the family, not all canine encounters are positive.
Dogs that have not been trained or socialized are likelier to bite strangers and children. Studies show that breeds like pit bulls, Rottweilers, and mastiffs can have a natural predisposition to bite. Dogs with behavioral and emotional problems or illnesses (such as rabies) can also become violent and attack humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one in five bites require urgent medical attention. This occurrence can result in costly medical bills and long-term impacts such as permanent scarring, physical impairment, or disfigurement.
How Can a Dog Bite Lawyer Help Me?
Dog bite victims who have endured personal injury may be eligible for financial compensation. However, it is essential to seek legal counsel from an experienced dog bite attorney to hold the liable party accountable for these injuries.
Dog Bite Liability
If you wish to pursue legal action after a dog bite, party liability is one of the most critical factors for your case. In personal injury law, liability refers to legal responsibility. A personal injury lawyer can help you identify liability in your case. Liability can then determine responsibility for losses like:
- medical bills
- emotional distress
- pain and suffering
- and recovery costs.
A dog bite lawyer can help you understand legal terminology for your lawsuit or claim. Essential terms for your suit can include the following:
Also known as absolute liability, this doctrine holds that the defendant is legally responsible for the event that occurred regardless of whether they could have done anything to prevent it.
Negligence is the failure to use reasonable prudence or care that results in the injury of another party. Sometimes called “carelessness,” this negligence can refer to the ethical standard of behavior either generally expected in society or required by law.
Some locations in the United States employ the “one-bite” rule. Unlike strict liability, the one-bite rule holds the defendant legally responsible only if the plaintiff can prove that the dog has been aggressive or violent in the past. This rule has roots in English common law and addresses the argument that owners do not expect domestic animals to be violent. Sometimes called the “first-bite rule” or “one-free-bite rule,” the idea is that dogs get one free bite that establishes behavior. Afterward, the dog owner is liable for any subsequent attack.
The burden of proof refers to the obligation of a plaintiff or defendant to prove a disputed charge, allegation, or defense.
How Much Does a Dog Bite Lawyer Cost?
At Menges Law Firm, we work on the contingency fee schedule. A contingency means we cover all costs of the lawsuit and do not take any fees until (and if) you win a settlement in or out of court. Being contingency means you don’t have any more expenses during a difficult time. We also have contingency fees for our:
Who is Liable for a Dog Bite or Attack?
The dog owner is the most common party found liable in this type of dispute. While the details of any argument can vary, a dog bite lawyer can help you work through the specifics of each case. In most states, dog owners are often responsible even if they have no prior knowledge that their dogs can attack or become violent. Only a handful of states have a one-bite rule that must establish a pattern of behavior first.
What Factors Impact Liability?
While liability often seems straightforward, you need a dog bite attorney since certain factors can impact liability. Working with a personal injury lawyer can help you sort out personal or locational details that can significantly affect the outcome of your case.
The most common issues that impact liability in dog bite injury claims include the following:
If a person knowingly enters a dog owner’s private property without permission, the dog owner may not be held responsible for damages incurred due to the dog bite. However, some states provide exceptions to this general guideline. For example, this rule typically does not apply to victims under six years old.
There are circumstances in which the dog owner is not liable if the victim deliberately provoked the canine into an attack.
Dog owners can be held responsible if the victim can prove recklessness, carelessness, or negligence of state or local guidelines. For example, dog owners are often liable if they fail to follow state or local leash, muzzle, or dog carrier laws. The plaintiff can work with a dog bite attorney to demonstrate that the defendant’s failure to comply with regulations directly resulted in personal injury.
State or Local Law
Liability for dog attacks can vary from state to state. It is best to contact a dog bite lawyer to determine which laws apply to your case.
How Do I File a Claim for a Dog Bite or Attack?
Victims of dog bites or dog attacks may be eligible for financial compensation. But first, you must consult a personal injury lawyer to help file a claim. Key steps to ensure a successful claim include the following:
Report the Incident
The first step is the report the occurrence. After seeking medical attention and photographing any bodily injury, proceed to collect the information needed to file an incident report. This information includes the dog owner, the date and time of the incident, and the exact location of the incident. You will also need to collect homeowners or pet insurance from the dog owner.
Once you have the information to make a complete incident report, it is time to contact your local animal control agency. Oversight of the agency can vary by region.
After completing the incident report, retain a copy for your records. Your dog bite attorney may request this copy to support your claim for recoverable damages from the attack. In some jurisdictions, the incident report automatically opens an investigation of the dog or event in question. It would help if you cooperated fully with subpoenas, witness statements or testimony, and any scheduled hearings to support future legal action.
Gather Documentation and Evidence
Even if the local animal control or humane society conducts an investigation, gathering your information as quickly as possible is essential. Gathering data immediately after the incident can increase credibility and ensure that your dog bite lawyer has a complete picture to work with regarding your case.
Essential documentation includes the following:
- Date, time, and location of the incident
- Dog owner information
- Time-stamped photos of the animal
- Time-stamped photos of the sustained injury
- Time-stamped statements from individuals who witnessed the bite or attack
- Proof of rabies vaccination (from the pet owner)
- Dog license or kennel registration
- Documentation of any prior instances of dog bites or attacks
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer
While some attempt to collect compensation or reasonable damages from dog bites, it is best to work with an experienced dog bite attorney. A personal injury lawyer specializing in dog bites can provide a wealth of information on current laws and the best settlement amount. Your dog bite lawyer can also bring valuable negotiation skills to ensure that you receive the highest compensation for applicable damages.
An expert personal injury lawyer can help in the following ways:
- Explaining state canine laws
- Advising dog bite victims as they prepare written statements
- Compiling evidence to support personal injury claims
- Consulting colleagues, legal advisors, medical professionals, and animal behavior experts
- Negotiating with the dog owner’s insurance company for an appropriate settlement
How to Choose a Dog Bite Attorney
As with any personal injury lawyer finding the right dog bite attorney plays a critical role in the successful outcome of your case. Some of the best factors to consider when choosing a dog bite lawyer includes the following:
Inquiry about the attorney’s experience in handling dog injury cases similar to your own
Ask for referrals from previous clients. These clients can provide valuable insight into the process and verify the lawyer’s aptitude and expertise.
Prepare a list of questions and request a free initial consultation. This is a standard practice in the industry and can reassure you that the lawyer will do what it takes to get the best outcome on your behalf.
Compensation for Dog Bite Injury Claims
Victims of dog bites or attacks may be eligible for compensation for damages. In personal injury law, damages refer to losses incurred or harm suffered from injury to a person or property.
Recoverable losses from dog bite claims can include the following:
- Medical or surgery bills
- Estimated hospital expenses
- Lost wages during recovery
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or trauma
- Estimated long-term care
Types of Dog Bite Lawsuits in the United States
In the United States, jurisdictions treat dog bite claims seriously due to the potential health risks involved. Between 2006-2015, the annual mean of human fatalities from dog bites was an average of 35 individuals per year. Children are at the highest risk for dog bites, and children and the elderly are more likely to incur life-threatening injuries.
Dog bite injuries can result in severe blood loss, permanent scarring or disfigurement, muscle or nerve damage, and traumatic brain injury. In addition, thousands of individuals undergo reconstructive surgeries yearly due to dog bites or attacks.
In addition to the life-threatening injuries, other injuries eligible for compensation may include the following:
- Bite marks or teeth marks
- Cuts, lacerations, or tears
- Marks or bruises
- Bone fractures
- Broken bones
- Infections or diseases
Since medical costs and settlement numbers have increased, it is best to work with a personal injury lawyer to determine the best basis for your claim. A qualified dog bite lawyer to explore the most efficient route to legal recourse for victims of loved ones.