Does your dog bite require the help of a personal injury attorney? Find out the signs it does in this guide to legal help for dog bites.
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be in pain, furious, and frightened. The injury may give rise to a whole slew of problems, from missing work to catching rabies. If the dog’s owner was negligent in his care of the animal, resulting in harm to you, you may have a cause of action in court.
You should always ask, “Does your dog bite?” when approaching an unknown animal. However, you may be the victim of a bite from an animal that you did not even approach if he has not been tied up or kept in his yard properly.
Here are seven questions to ask yourself if you have been bitten by a dog and you are considering whether you may have a viable suit against the owner. If you think you might, you should call an experienced dog bite attorney immediately.
1. Have You Incurred Medical Bills as a Result of a Dog Bite?
If you have to go to the hospital and get stitches because a dog bit you, you may have grounds to ask for reimbursement of these expenses.
4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the U.S., and more than 27,000 victims require reconstructive surgery.
If you are bitten by a dog, you may need medical attention to injuries to your skin, muscles, and tendons. You may need reconstructive work, including plastic surgery to minimize scarring. You may get infected from the bite or from subsequent medical procedures.
You may have to undergo treatment for rabies, which can be long, painful, and expensive.
You deserve compensation for all of these expensive procedures. You can seek such compensation through a personal injury suit against a negligent dog owner.
2. Have You Missed Work?
Like any traumatic injury, you need time to recover. You also need time to go to various doctors, receive different opinions, and undergo treatment. This can impact your job.
You can seek compensation for your lost wages or negative impact on your salary or professional prospects if they were caused by your injuries from a dog bite.
3. Were You Injured While Reacting to a Dangerous Dog?
Maybe you were walking down the street and a large pit bull lunged at you. You tried to get away from the clear and present threat of the dangerous animal and you stumbled and broke your ankle.
Even if the dog never actually bit you, you reasonably reacted to the threat of that injury. You should talk to a lawyer to see if whether your claim may be viable.
In personal injury cases, unusual situations can still give rise to a claim of action. If your injury was due to someone’s negligence in controlling their pet, and if the owner should have foreseen the possibility of someone getting hurt because he did not restrain the animal, that can give rise to a viable suit.
4. Did a Dog Hurt Your Livestock or Other Property?
Dogs sometimes damage property in addition to people. If you own livestock like cattle, goats, or sheep, and one is hurt or killed by a dog, you may be able to sue for the value of your loss. You will have to show that the animal would not have been hurt but for the negligence of the dog’s owner and that you took reasonable precautions to protect your own animals.
Maybe your neighbor’s dog gained access to your yard and destroyed your property or belongings. If your losses were caused by your neighbor’s lack of care in restraining his pet, you may be able to seek compensation for the value of your property damage.
5. Have You Been Unable to Conduct Your Daily Chores?
Dog bites can inflict serious and lasting damage. You may be unable to pick up your toddler, clean the house, or mow the yard. If you are in a cast or healing from stitches, you may be curtailed in your daily life.
All of these issues deserve compensation. Your lawyer can help you determine the correct monetary amount you can request to compensate you for the serious ramifications of being bitten by a dog. A lawsuit will aim to make you “whole,” and return you to the general state you enjoyed before your encounter.
6. Have You Been Traumatized by the Dog Who Bit You?
All injuries are not necessarily physical. Being attacked by a vicious dog can also leave emotional scars.
You may be frightened to take a stroll around your neighborhood or go to the park after getting attacked by a dog. You may be unable to sleep or suffer other post-traumatic symptoms. If so, you should consult an attorney about your options for claiming emotional distress.
7. Was the Dog Owner Acting Irresponsibly?
In order to prevail in a dog bite lawsuit, or reach a satisfactory settlement, you must establish that the frightening encounter would not have happened but for the negligence of the owner.
Was the owner walking his pit bull without a leash? Did she leave her dog unattended in a back yard where she knew the gate did not lock? Had the dog bitten people before, so the owner knew there was a risk of someone else getting hurt?
Talk to an attorney to see if the elements of a cause of action exist for your to pursue a claim You need to establish that there was a reasonable probability that someone might get hurt and the owner did not exercise reasonable care in preventing that possibility.
Does Your Dog Bite? No, But My Lawyer Does
No matter what the answer to the question “does your dog bite?”, the fact is that if the dog does indeed bite its owner may need to pay for its misbehavior.
Some accidents are completely unforeseeable. However, if you believe a dog’s owner was responsible for his pet and failed to act reasonably to keep the dog in line, you have the right to recover for your damages. So long as you did not yourself take unreasonable risks by provoking the dog or otherwise putting yourself in danger, you may have a viable claim.
If you have been injured by a dog, speak to an attorney who has experience in collecting on behalf of personal injuries like dog bites. For more information check out our blog.