Dog Bite Victims are Entitled to Legal Compensation
Most dogs are friendly and make great pets. However, some dogs are powerful and aggressive, and do not make great pets. Still other dogs may appear docile but will attack if they feel provoked. Believe it or not, thousands of people are attacked each year by dogs and sustain injuries which can be quite serious. These injuries range from puncture wounds and disfiguring deep gashes, to broken bones. Dog owners have a legal responsibility to prevent their pets from injuring people or damaging property, so if you’ve been injured by a dog, you are likely entitled to legal compensation.
Who is Liable for a Serious Dog Bite?
In most cases, the dog owner is strictly liable for the injuries their dogs cause, whether the injury is a bite or a broken bone suffered from being knocked over. However, if your injury is the result of you teasing or provoking the dog, or if you were trespassing, you may share in responsibility for the attack. As with most dog related injuries, if you were acting peaceably in a place where you were legally allowed to be and did not provoke the dog, the owner is liable.
When a dog hurts someone, the owner of the animal will have to compensate the injured person for damages they suffer. There is a good deal of potential harm that can come from a dog bite. You may incur medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, psychological trauma, and lifetime disfigurement.
Developing a fear of dogs is not uncommon after an attack, and for some people, they will struggle with going out anywhere dogs may be. Some people may have had a long-established walking routine that keeps them centered, focused and healthy. But after a dog attack, that routine may come to an end, and all the benefits along with it.
Who Covers the Legal Compensation for a Dog Bite?
The dog owner’s liability insurance may cover your damages, even if the injury happens off the owner’s property. Homeowner’s insurance has provisions for dog attacks. If the dog is considered an aggressive breed, it is likely that the owner has an additional rider on their policy to protect them in case of a dog attack. If the owner does not have coverage under their policy, the homeowner themselves will be responsible for the compensation. Other individuals may be responsible for the dog attack as well; this includes “harborers” and “keepers” of dogs. So in investigating a dog attack, if the owner does not have insurance, it is important to consider whether there is another person from whom a financial recovery can be made.
What Will Happen to the Dog?
What happens to the dog is a separate issue from seeking just compensation. First and foremost, you must ensure that the dog did not have a disease such as rabies. For this reason, it is important to get prompt medical attention, and to make sure that the incident is reported to the local dog warden and the health department. These agencies will take necessary action with the dog owner. If the dog has had a prior incident, or if the dog is determined to have a transmissible disease, then it may be required for the dog to be surrendered.
If You’ve Been Seriously Injured by a Dog Bite, What Should You Do?
The first step is to get emergency medical treatment and follow-up with the local dog warden and the health department. Once you are medically stable, you should plan to speak with a personal injury attorney who has experience with successful dog bite settlements. Do not speak with any insurance companies until you have done so. Make sure you obtain and keep all the documentation from your medical treatment following the attack, and that you photograph your injuries along the way. Your attorney can work with the insurance company for the dog owner to recover monetary compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
When you are considering an attorney, look for one who not only has experience in personal injury law, but who has handled local dog bite cases in the past. For the best outcome, you want an attorney who is well versed in the local laws regarding animal attacks. Being a victim of a dog attack and sustaining serious injuries from a dog bite can be a very traumatic experience, and as a victim, you have the right to compensation. Arthur Law Firm has a successful record representing victims of dog bites, and we can help you through the legal process ahead. Contact us at (419) 782-9881 for a free consultation right away. We can help you get the compensation you need and a settlement you deserve.