Looking for a Dog Bite Lawyer?
What do dog attorneys do and should you hire one?
What are the essential elements you should know!
In this article, we will break down the legal profession of Dog Bite Lawyer so you know all there is to know about it!
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Table of Contents
Who Is A Dog Bite Lawyer
A dog bite lawyer (or dog bite attorney) is a legal professional trained in the laws applicable to owning animals (dog bite laws or pet laws) such as dogs and the offering of legal services to victims and dog owners in the event of personal injury caused by a dog attack.
Dogs are generally loyal animals.
However, there are instances when dogs end up attacking a human and causing severe personal injuries, in some cases leading to death.
When a dog attack takes place, depending on the circumstances, the dog owner may be liable to compensate the victim of the attack for damages.
Dog bite lawyers are the legal professionals who are experienced in personal injury cases, particularly as it relates to dog ownership and injuries caused by dogs.
Every case is different and may result in different considerations for the dog owner and the victim.
Children and the elderly are particularly at risk for dog attacks.
For example, a dog attack may take place on a small minor child that may leave the child with a permanent disability or severe disfigurement.
In other cases, dog bites can lead to severe infections to the victim due the bacteria or disease transmitted through the dogs saliva.
It’s important to consult with a legal professional to assess the consequences and full extent of injuries suffered resulting from a dog attack.
What Do Dog Bite Attorneys Do
Dog bite attorneys can provide valuable legal guidance and expertise in helping the victim of a dog bite accident file a successful claim or defend the dog owner against a claim or lawsuit.
For example, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant was the owner of the dog and that the dog owner owed a duty of care.
Particularly, the plaintiff must show that he or she has a lawful presence in the place where the accident took place.
In certain cases, defendants will argue that the plaintiff was a trespasser and was bitten at a place where he or she was not lawfully present.
Another important factor in dog bite cases is with regards to the causation of the damages.
The plaintiff must show that the damages result strictly from the dog bite.
Alternatively, the defendant will try to prove that the dog bite did not result in the injuries claimed by the plaintiff.
In essence, experienced dog bite lawyers and law firms can help you:
- Investigate the facts of the case
- Determine the extent of the defendant’s liability
- Review and evaluate evidence
- Review and evaluate medical records
- Speak to health professional and doctors
- Review police reports
- File insurance claims and deal with insurance companies
- Determine the scope and extent of damages the plaintiff may obtain
- File a dog accident lawsuit or claim
- Examine and cross-examine witnesses
- Plead the case before a judge or jury
Although anyone can choose to self-represent in court or directly deal with the defendant or insurance companies, it may be worth thinking about the value a dog bite attorney may bring.
The best dog bite lawyers are trained in law and experienced in precisely these types of cases.
They’ve seen what works and what does not.
As a result, in some cases, the fees you may end up paying for the attorney may very well be compensated by a winning case and putting the chances on your side to obtain a higher settlement or minimizing your liability depending if you are the plaintiff or defendant.
Who Is Responsible For A Dog Attack
Different types of people may be held accountable and legally liable for bodily injuries caused by a dog or property damage.
First and foremost, dog owners and pet owners are responsible for injuries caused by their dog or animal.
When a dog attack takes place, the dog owner will, in most cases, need to assume responsibility for the harm caused to the victim of the accident.
It may be useful to determine if the dog owner’s home insurance policy can cover the damages caused by the dog attack.
Another type of person who may be responsible for dog attacks is a dog handler.
If the dog was under the supervision of a dog walker, dog daycare, or kennel employee, the dog handler or the supervising company may be held liable for the injuries caused by the dog.
Property owners can also be held liable for their dogs.
In general, property owners have a duty to provide safe premises for those accessing their property.
For example, customers, guests, tenants, or persons lawfully coming on premise should expect safe premises.
If the property owner was negligent in providing safe premises, it may be held accountable for damages.
In such cases, an attorney may consider filing a negligence lawsuit for the homeowner or property owner’s negligence.
What To Do Following A Dog Attack
If you are the victim of a dog attack, there are a few things that you should think about doing.
Dogs can attack in a split of a second and so it may be difficult to react quickly.
In some cases, the victims put a bag or a jacked between them and the dog in an attempt to prevent the dog from attaining them.
If you or a child is wounded, it’s crucial to consult with a doctor and get medical treatment right away.
Dogs can transmit bacteria and diseases through their saliva and it’s important to ensure that the victim of the bite is not infected.
It’s also very important to contact the police and report the attack.
In this context, you want to quickly identify the dog owner by getting his or her name, address, and other contact information.
The circumstances of the attack should be documented, pictures taken of the place where the accident took place, and if there are witnesses, they should be identified and give statements.
If you were bitten in a private place like the dog owner’s house, keep any records or evidence showing that you were lawfully authorized to be there.
For example, if you have text messages showing you were invited or emails, you can use that as evidence.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites are typically associated with certain types of injuries such as:
- Deep contusions
- Bone fractures
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Face injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Muscle injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Ripped flesh
- Psychological trauma
- Nerve damage
Although this is a non-exhaustive list of possible dog bite injuries, any injury caused by a dog may be eligible for recovery.
It is recommended that you consult with a dog bite lawyer to better understand your rights and obligations.
Proving A Dog Bite Case
Every jurisdiction will have its own unique requirements as to what needs to be proven to successfully win a dog bite lawsuit.
In general, the victim of injuries will need to prove that:
- The defendant is the owner of the dog
- The dog attacked the plaintiff
- The dog caused the injuries to the plaintiff
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the injuries suffered
The court will also consider the location where the dog bite took place.
For example, if the dog bite took place in a public area, like a park, then the dog owner will be held liable for the injuries caused by the dog.
If the dog bite took place in a private place, like the dog owner’s home, the court will assess whether the person who suffered damages was lawfully in the home.
For example, if a robber enters a house or trespasses and gets injured by a dog, chances are that the courts will not award the robber damages for the injuries suffered.
The court will also consider the legality in owning the particular breed of dog that attacked the plaintiff.
If the law prohibits ownership of a specific breed of dog, then a violation of the law will certainly be an aggravating factor in the event of a dog attack.
Some states in the U.S. follow a strict liability rule whereby the dog owner will be considered liable for damages regardless if he or she knew or should have known that the dog was a dangerous animal.
Other states follow a “one bite rule” where the dog owner will be liable when it is shown that the dog has bitten another person in the past.
What Compensation Can You Get For Dog Attacks
In the United States, a dog bite claim can lead to the recovery of damages.
In legal terms, “damages” are sums of money awarded by a judge, jury, or obtained in a settlement where the at-fault party (dog owner) compensates the victim of the accident (plaintiff) economic and noneconomic damages.
Consulting with a lawyer for dog bites or a dog bite law firm will be beneficial in helping you assess the viability of your claim and how much you may be able to pursue.
If your attorney determines that you have a case, you may be able to recover the following:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disfigurement
- Lost of enjoyment of life
You should consult your lawyers to identify the exact types of damages you may pursue.
It’s possible that in some jurisdictions, the type of damages that may be pursued may be limited.
In the unfortunate event when the victim dies from the fatal dog attack or bite, a wrongful death claim can be filed.
For instance, in the context of a wrongful death lawsuit, the family of the victim may also pursue damages relating to:
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Lost income based on the deceased earning potential
- Medical expenses prior to death
- Loss of love, attention, and affection
- Loss of moral support and guidance
- Loss of community
Applicable Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations refers to the delays afforded by law for a person to file a claim against another.
In other words, if a lawsuit or claim for a dog bite is filed before the expiration of the statute of limitations delays, the lawsuit may be validly pursued in court.
However, if the plaintiff files a claim or legal action outside of the statute of limitations delays, then the action will be considered as “time barred” and will be dismissed.
In some jurisdictions, dog bite injury victims must file their lawsuit within two years while other jurisdictions allow for a different time delay.
If you do not want to lose the right to compensation, you should immediately consult with a qualified attorney dealing with dog bites so he or she can advise you as to the strengths and weaknesses of your case but also advise you as to your legal deadline for filing a claim.
Attorney For Dog Bites Takeaways
So, what does a dog bite lawyer do?
Why should you hire one?
Can a dog bite attorney help you following a dog bite accident?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Dog Bite Attorney
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