If a pet has bitten you, the most simple and direct course of action is to file an insurance claim. Here’s how an expert dog bite attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Dogs can provide eternal love and companionship, but even the most gentle dogs can cause property damage or personal injury.
If your dog bites someone, if someone’s dog injures you or your pet, or if someone else’s dog bites you, you may need to hire a dog bite attorney.
Dog bite laws differ from state to state. A local Dog Bite Lawyer Arkansas can advise you on whether you have a legal claim, the potential extent of your liability, the types of defenses that may be available, and the potential legal and financial consequences of your dog bite case.
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What to do if a dog bites me?
If a dog bites you, you have several options. To begin, you can file an insurance claim with the dog’s insurance company. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover an initial dog bite claim on the insured’s property. Many policies will also cover an off-property bite if the dog is owned or kept on the property.
A personal injury lawyer can be highly beneficial when dealing with the insurance company and negotiating a fair settlement.
You can also sue the dog’s owner or caretaker for monetary damages. Some state statutes even allow these lawsuits to include non-dog bite injuries and dog bites. Dog bite attorneys are essential in these lawsuits because they are familiar with your state’s laws, calculate damages, and present evidence most effectively.
What are the ways to establish liability in a dog bite case?
The laws of your state and the strength of your case will determine whether you can hold someone liable for your dog bite injuries. In some states, the traditional common law “one-bite” rule applies, which imposes liability only if the owner knew or had reason to know their dog was dangerous, such as if the dog had previously bitten someone.
Approximately half of the states have statutes imposing strict liability on dog owners, where the injured person only needs to show that a dog bite caused their injury while they were in a place they had a legal right to be, regardless of the owner’s precautions.
According to various dog bite and negligence statutes, the owner has a general duty to protect others from harm caused by their dog. It includes visitors, employees working on their property, and people in public places. Owners must also follow local leash laws and statutes that make those who own dangerous animals or specific breeds of dogs liable.
Furthermore, individuals other than the dog’s owner may be liable for injuries in some states. In some cases, parents of a dog-owning minor, animal caretakers (such as dog sitters or kennels), property owners, and landlords may be held liable.
Defences Possible in a Dog Bite Case
The potential defences that someone may raise against you in a dog bite case will vary depending on your state’s laws, but some common arguments that an opposing dog bites attorney may raise include the following:
While trespassers have some legal protections, your state’s dog bite statutes may require you to prove that you were bitten while legally permitted to be there. A person cannot recover damages for a dog bite while trespassing under those rules.
Another common defence is that the injured person provoked the dog before the bite occurred, such as by teasing or cornering the dog and threatening it with an aggressive gesture.
Assumption of risk or comparative negligence
In some cases, the dog’s owner may argue that you are partially to blame for your injuries. For example, if the owner provided adequate warnings about their dog and ignored them, your ability to recover damages may be limited or eliminated.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will understand which arguments an opposing dog bite attorney may use against you and how to best counter them.
Top reasons why you need a dog bite attorney
Suppose billboards and TV commercials form your mental image of personal injury lawsuits. In that case, it is understandable that you believe personal injury lawyers can only assist people injured in car or motorcycle accidents.
Personal injury laws apply to any situation in which one person’s negligence (failure to meet a standard of care) directly caused another person’s injuries and financial losses. It means that if your cousin’s dog bites your child during a family reunion, you have the same rights as a pedestrian injured in a hit-and-run accident caused by a drunk driver.
Filing a lawsuit may seem intimidating, especially after an incident like a dog bite that appears to be no one’s fault. In reality, only a small percentage of personal injury cases necessitate a trial. You may never have to go to court, and your lawyer may even be able to get you the money you require without having to file a lawsuit.
The best Texas dog bite lawyers can assist you in recovering from the financial consequences of a dog attack with as little financial and emotional stress as possible.
A dog bite attack can lead to devastating financial consequences.
For most American households, financial stability is the exception rather than the rule. While a personal finance maxim states that you should keep your monthly income in an emergency fund three times, this is unrealistic for most people.
More than half of Americans have no savings, so the only way to cover a $400 emergency expense is to charge it to a credit card, take out a loan, or take it from a family member or friend.
Medical bills are a significant contributor to Americans’ financial insecurity. Illnesses and accidents can happen to anyone, even the most frugal and health-conscious individuals. Even if you have health insurance, medical bills from a dog bite can run into thousands of dollars. Consider how much money you would owe if you had to pay for all of these expenses, even if your insurance covered some of them:
- Visit the emergency room.
- Ambulance transportation
- X-rays and other diagnostic imaging procedures
- Blood tests
- Antibiotics and other prescription medications
- In-hospital physician services (the doctors who treat you in the hospital often send you a bill separate from the hospital bill)
- Outpatient medical services
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Crutches and other medical devices
Your dog bite attorney is aware of your legal rights.
A dog bite is a once-in-a-lifetime event unless you are extremely unlucky or your job is to train dogs to behave appropriately in stressful situations that would normally make them aggressive.
You’ve probably never given much thought to Texas’s dog bite laws. You have the right to represent yourself in a personal injury case, just as in a divorce case and some criminal cases, but doing so successfully is more complex than you might think. It is very easy to make mistakes that will reduce the amount of money you can collect or even prevent you from collecting.
Some people do not realize that even if they are awarded money after a dog bite attack, they may still be liable for hospital bills or liens asserted against them by the victim’s health care provider.
Furthermore, anything you say in a recorded statement to an insurance company can and will be used against you for the insurance company to pay you the least amount of money possible.
You may even mistakenly believe that you do not have a case because you were petting the dog rather than it running up to you and attacking you while you mind your own business.
On the other hand, a dog bite attorney is familiar with local and municipal dog bite laws. In Texas, dog bite accidents are almost always the dog owner’s responsibility, even if the dog is friendly and has never bitten anyone before. (This means that Texas is a “no bite” state, as opposed to “one bite” states, where it doesn’t matter if the dog has previously bitten a person.)
To maintain your relationship with the dog’s owner.
The dog owner and the victim are acquainted in most dog bite cases. The victim is usually a dog owner who has had numerous interactions with the dog before it bit him.
You don’t want to get into a legal fight with your neighbour, your daughter’s friend’s parents, or your brother-in-law. Hiring a dog bite lawyer can help you avoid further damage to your relationship with the dog owner.
Getting in touch with a lawyer does not imply that you intend to file criminal charges against the dog owner (Unless the owner actively encouraged the dog to attack the victim, criminal charges are unlikely to result from a dog bite incident). It’s more like settling with your insurance company after a car accident. Your lawyer may obtain sufficient funds simply by negotiating with the insurance company.
This method is less likely to sever a friendship than if the dog owner makes an informal promise to pay your medical bills, but the bills continue to pile up, and they become resentful that you continue to send him invoices that he struggles to pay. After all, this is why people buy either homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, which typically covers dog bite attacks.
An expert dog bite attorney can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve
In a dog bite injury case, you can ask for and receive compensation for all monetary losses due to the incident. If your injuries were severe enough that you had to miss work due to them, you could also seek compensation for lost wages.
Non-economic damages for emotional distress and loss of enjoyment are recoverable in the most severe cases, but only if your injuries are permanent or extremely severe.
Commonly asked questions about dog bites
What if the dog has never been vicious?
Dog owners in Texas are liable if their dog bites and injures another person, regardless of the dog’s history. As a result, even if the dog has never been bitten, a victim may file a claim against the owner.
Can I expect a settlement if I hire a dog bite lawyer?
Various factors determine the amount of compensation received by a victim, including the severity of the injuries and the presence of permanent scarring or other long-term damage. Because a dog attack is a traumatic event, psychological impairment is also considered.
What is the statute of limitations for cases similar to mine?
Personal injury claims in Texas must get filed within three years. If the victim is under 18 years of age, they may file a claim until their 19th birthday. If you or your child is bitten, you should contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible for the best outcome.
Who is the most common dog bite victims?
Children are bitten more frequently than people of other ages. Furthermore, children are more likely to suffer serious injuries. Senior citizens are the most common victims, followed by postal workers.
Should my children be warned of familiar dogs?
Yes. According to statistics, most children are bitten by a dog they know, including family pets and neighbours’ dogs.
What should be my course of action if a dog bites my child?
Call an ambulance or the nearest emergency room if you have a severe attack. Then, clean the wound(s) using soap and warm water. Take photos of the injuries and the area where the attack occurred, if possible.
What are the benefits of consulting a dog bite lawyer?
Statistically, plaintiffs who hire personal injury attorneys fare better financially than those who represent themselves. Victims must provide extensive medical records and other documentation by strict deadlines. A competent Texas dog bite lawyer will obtain and submit the required information per the legal requirements and timelines.
What if the owner says I made the dog angry?
The owner and/or the insurance company frequently try to prove that the victim provoked the dog. A skilled dog bite attorney understands how to counter these claims and present a winning case.
What can dog owners do to stop their dogs from biting?
Owners should always use a leash when taking a dog out in public, even in their own neighbourhood. Introduce a new dog to people and other pets gradually. Owners should exercise their dogs frequently, especially if they are confined to the house for extended periods. Enrol in a dog training class if necessary. If a dog is ill or appears irritable, keep it away from people.
If a dog has attacked you or someone you care about, you know what a traumatic experience it can be. Dogs that turn violent have a lot of power and can be dangerous.
Every year, over 4.5 million dog bites occur, and this statistic shows that dogs biting people is a common occurrence.
The good news is that you can seek justice by hiring a dog bite lawyer Arkansas. Skilled legal representation will help you hold the wrongdoers accountable and get the compensation you deserve.