Dog Bite Attorneys
What is a Dog Bite Attorney?
A dog bite attorney is an attorney who specializes in cases involving dog bite injuries. A pet, including a dog, is the personal property of the owner. This means the dog owner can be held personally liable for any injuries that the dog inflicts onto another individual or someone’s property.
Animal bite cases are one of the most common types of personal injury cases filed in the United States. Dog bite cases are the most common, with approximately 4.7 billion dog bites occurring each year. Around half of these involve children under 12 years of age.
In cases that involve a dog bite, the owner may face criminal assault charges in some states if their dog assaults another person. This may occur when the traits of the dog meet the definition of “vicious” or “dangerous” provided in the state statute, if applicable, and their owner fails to reasonably restrain their dog despite knowing that it is dangerous.
Why is it Important to Have a Dog Attack Lawyer?
It is extremely important to have a dog attack lawyer because dog bite liability depends largely on the state, or even the city or county, in which you reside. Some states, including California, Florida, and Massachusetts, provide for owner liability for their dog’s actions. These are called strict liability states, where the dog owner is held strictly liable for the conduct of their dog.
There may also be exceptions when you are not liable for your dog’s conduct. If the dog attack victim is a criminal and is bitten in the commission of a felony, or if the victim provoked the dog, then you would not be held liable. Additionally, you would not be liable to a trespasser on your property who is bitten by your dog.
In other states, such as New York, Texas, and Oregon, the owner is only held liable if they had reason to know or should have known that the dog had aggressive tendencies. Clearly, the laws can differ greatly by state and include many nuances. For these reasons, it is essential to have an attorney assisting with your dog bite claim.
A dog attack lawyer is a valuable resource because they will be able to determine what type of claim you are able to file and explain how local and state laws may affect your case. Your lawyer can also help you gather the necessary information to support your claim.
What are Some Other Issues Related to Dog Bites and Dog Attacks?
If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, or any other animal, there are some steps you should take in order to help preserve your claim for damages. These include:
- Identifying the dog that caused the injury;
- Seeking medical attention when needed;
- Keeping track of medical records, treatments, and any related costs;
- Obtaining the name, address, telephone number, and other available contact information of the dog’s owner,
- Obtaining the contact information of anyone who witnessed the attack;
- Recording or taking pictures of the wound; and
- Gathering any other relevant evidence that may be helpful in proving the attack.
In most cases, a dog bite victim will receive monetary damages. The amount the plaintiff may receive is intended to compensate them for things such as:
- Medical costs, including treatments, procedures, and medications;
- Future necessary medical treatment;
- Expenses for psychological counseling, if applicable;
- Lost wages or loss of earnings; and
- Punitive damages in extreme cases.
Another important issue that may arise in a dog bite case is the statute of limitations, or the time limit in which the injured party can bring their claim. The deadlines in most states for dog bite cases are the same as other personal injury claims. They may vary from 1 to 6 years, but typically fall into the 2 to 3 year range from the time of the injury.
What are the Benefits of Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer?
There are numerous benefits of hiring a dog bite lawyer. A lawyer can help you collect evidence, identify state laws that may aid or prevent your claim, and advise you on what type of action you should bring.
Dog bite attacks can have serious consequences for both the dog owner and the injured party. If you are the victim of a serious injury from a dog attack, hiring a lawyer can ensure you receive the maximum available compensation for your injuries. If you are the owner of a dog who has attacked another individual, an attorney can help you present any defenses that may be available in your case.
No matter if you are the injured party or the dog owner, a lawyer is an invaluable resource. Your lawyer can help you with all aspects of your case and represent you in court, if necessary.