Even the most docile dogs have their moments. Animals think based on instinct, which is why dog bites are common. Most insurance policies cover dog bites or dog attacks on private and public property because of this. But when an owner or insurance company won’t play fair, you’ll need the help of a dog bite lawyer. My Case Helper can find you a dog bite lawyer who can get you money for medical bills and so much more.
This article shares some important information for anyone recently bitten by a dog. If you’re struggling with deciding whether or not to take legal action, this article will help you. For more advice or to talk to a dog bite lawyer near you, call My Case Helper.
Dog Bite Liability
In most cases, the dog’s owner is liable for any damages you have; this is called strict liability. Strict liability means the owner is liable regardless of the circumstances. Some states have more lenient conditions to the strict liability rulings, but the owner is still liable. States using the strict liability ruling for dog bites also include other damages the dog may have caused such as bruising.
Most states have a two year statute of limitations on dog bite cases. Meaning you can only take legal action during that time frame before it’s legally void. What’s important to remember is that you should make an informed decision quickly and absolve yourself of any liability.
To remove any kind of liability from yourself or the bitten person, you should immediately:
- Seek medical attention
- Document the incident
- File a report with local animal control
- Consult a dog bite lawyer
Even if the injuries aren’t that bad, you should still take lots of pictures and see a doctor. Take a moment to write down everything that happened before, during and after you were bitten. This removes you from any liability.
Consulting with a lawyer will help you determine who is the liable party. Other liable parties in dog bite cases include:
- The owner
- A dog sitter or walker
- Kennel owners
- Property owners or landlords
- Business owners
A court may find victims acting in contributory negligence. This means that if the victim was found guilty of taunting, teasing, or provoking a dog to attack, they are negligent and liable. If you’re guilty of contributory negligence and you may not be able to receive compensation.
Dog Bite Compensation
Because dog bite incidents are common, most homeowners insurance policies have dog bite coverage. This means that the liable party’s insurance will cover the damages you need covered. You can seek damages for:
- Present and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
It’s likely that you won’t have an issue with getting the liable party to make an insurance claim, but the insurance company may dispute some expenses. It can be especially difficult if you need extensive damages for pain and suffering.
Children bitten by dogs often experience extreme PTSD. This means they’ll need additional care and therapy to recover. Even if you’re not a child, being bitten by a dog can be traumatizing; and therapy is necessary but expensive. You may need the help of a lawyer if you need expenses like therapy covered.
The “One-Bite” Rule
If a state goes by the “one-bite” rule, an owner may not be held liable the first time their dog bites. You can still file an insurance claim to get compensation for your injuries if your state follows this ruling, regardless. However, even if the dog has never bitten someone before, the owner is liable if the:
- Owner suspected danger, but did nothing to take proper precautions
- Injuries are extensive
- Owner ignored warnings and city by-laws on dogs
The states that follow the one-bite rule include:
- The District of Columbia
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Aggressive and Violent Dogs
Many people struggle with taking legal action or filing a report against owners because they don’t want to euthanize the dog. It’s unlikely that the dog will be euthanized if this is an isolated incident. However, after this incident, the dog will be considered dangerous. The owner is then liable to take additional preventive measures like muzzles and fences.
If a dog has had a violent history or displayed “vicious behavior” and no precautions are made, then the owner may be subject to more charges. Courts consider a dog dangerous if the dog has:
- Bit or attacked someone without being provoked
- Seriously injured someone
- Attacked another animal without being provoked
- Aggressively chased a person or animal
- Been trained for or used in dog fighting
In these instances, an owner’s negligence may subject them to additional criminal charges. You can still press civil charges against an owner if they’re charged criminally. If an owner faces criminal charges, they’re facing charges against the state. However, you can only receive compensation if you press civil charges against the owner.
Cost of A Dog Bite Lawyer
Most lawyers won’t charge you for a consultation. If the owner has the proper homeowners insurance, there shouldn’t be much need for a lawyer aside from a quick consultation.
If you need to press civil charges against the owner, you would work with a personal injury lawyer. These lawyers work by contingencies, meaning the lawyer fees are taken out of your settlement. Contingencies are normally only a small percentage of your settlement, and will never be more than a third of your settlement.
However, if you need to take action against an insurance company, you’ll need a litigation lawyer. Upon consultation, your lawyer will discuss their fees. For estimates, call My Case Helper to speak with a lawyer near you.
If you or a loved one was recently bit or attacked by a dog, call My Case Helper. We can find you the right kind of dog bite lawyer for your case.
Also Read: 12 Questions To Ask A Personal Injury Lawyer