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 attorney to determine the best options following a dog bite. Contact a dog bite lawyer at The Law Offices of John M. McCabe today.
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.
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.
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:
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.
We work on a contingency basis for personal injury claims such as dog bites. A contingency fee basis means we do not charge you anything unless we win a settlement in or out of court. This fee structure ensures we work hard for your case and that you don't have even more out-of-pocket expenses during a stressful time. We also offer contingency fee schedules for other practice areas, such as:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 incident's date and time, and the incident's exact location. You must also 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.
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:
While some attempt to collect compensation or reasonable damages from dog bites, working with an experienced dog bite attorney is best. 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 you receive the highest compensation for applicable damages.
An personal expert injury lawyer can help in the following ways:
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.
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:
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:
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.
Anyone who reads the news can encounter numerous stories of dog mauling, bites, or attacks. It is all the more unsettling once an incident has become personal, and understanding your legal rights after an attack can feel intimidating. Contact an expert dog bite attorney to help you file the claim you rightfully deserve.