Dog bite cases can result in various injuries, from limb lacerations to severe puncture wounds near vital arteries. The severity of the injury affects your case and the number of damages you can receive. If you have questions about liability and compensation for your accident, the best way to get the information you need is to contact a dog bite attorney. The consultation is risk-free, allowing your to make the right legal choice for your case without fear of further financial loss. Liability in a dog bite case is often cut-and-dry, but every accident has unique circumstances.
Strict Liability in a Dog Bite Case
States mandate the laws that govern liability in dog bite cases, and most states use a negligence approach called strict liability. This statute implies that dog owners are fully responsible for their animal’s behavior regardless of proactive attempts to keep the dog restrained. The dog owner can do everything within their capability to keep a dog from attacking others, but they will still likely be liable if the dog bites another person.
Seeking Compensation for Your Injuries
Should you decide to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained in a dog attack, you have only two options: file a claim with the dog owner’s homeowners or renters insurance policy or file a lawsuit in civil court. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you can expect the dog owner to respond with a defense. The most common defenses include the following:
- The injured person provoked the altercation. The dog would not bite anyone otherwise.
- The injured person threatened the owner, and the dog is very protective.
- The injured person knew the dog would bite under the circumstances and ignored the possibility.
- The injured person trespassed on the dog owner’s property when the bite occurred.
Because strict liability is a broad concept, most strict liability states pass statutes with specific stipulations for liability. For example, Massachusetts has a dog bite statute within the state’s general laws. According to this statute, the dog owner is liable if their dog causes property damage or personal injury and the victim did not trespass, provoke the dog, or commit another personal injury at the time. If you have questions about liability in your case, you should consider speaking with a dog bite attorney.
Reasons You Should Hire a Dog Bite Attorney After Your Accident
A common misconception is that personal injury attorneys only work on auto accident cases. However, personal injury is a broad concept that covers everything from slip and fall accidents and medical malpractice to defective product injuries and dog attacks. Even if liability is straightforward in your case, there are several reasons you should consider hiring a dog bite attorney, starting with the possibility of a better settlement.
You Could Face Devastating Financial Repercussions
Most Americans understand that, even with health insurance, you could face substantial financial losses after a dog bite accident. A single bite in the wrong area of the body could result in multiple costly surgeries and a lifetime of debilitating psychological trauma. One of the advantages of hiring a dog bite attorney is their experience in identifying and calculating the value of damages from a dog bite case. The value of your damages determines the amount of compensation you receive.
Compensation From a Dog Bite Injury Case
The court refers to damages when discussing the recoverable losses from your accident. These compensatory damages come in two overarching categories: economic, meaning the financial losses, and non-economic, relating to the emotional trauma caused by the accident. While the specifics of damages vary from case to case, the most common examples include:
- Lost income. If you missed work because of your injuries, you could claim that lost income, as well as any future income lost for ongoing medical care. In addition, if your injuries resulted in a disability, you can claim loss of earning capacity if you can no longer hold the position you did before.
- Medical costs. Any necessary medical care for your injuries is recoverable. This includes emergency services, medications, surgeries, rehabilitative services, and any medical devices needed for life or mobility.
- Damaged property. If any of your property was destroyed directly from the attack, you could also claim that. For example, if the dog tore up an expensive bag or phone, you may name that in your demands.
- Psychological trauma. You can claim the physical pain and suffering of your injuries as well as any emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, depression, or any other mental impairment you experienced after the accident.
Valuing and proving these damages is a skill that personal injury attorneys develop with education and experience. For that reason, most dog bite victims with legal representation receive a higher settlement in less time than those who do not hire an attorney. Insurance companies are known for pushing back and delaying payout for valid claims, but they are less likely to get away with it when you have an attorney on your side.
You May Want To Preserve Your Relationship With the Dog Owner
Many dog bite cases involve victims and dog owners with an established relationship. More often than not, the owner tried to restrain the dog, never imagining that their beloved pet would hurt someone. Sometimes, victims take on financial damages to avoid straining the connection with the dog owner. However, an attorney can help you get the compensation you need and deserve without damaging that relationship. Criminal charges are rare in these cases, so your attorney could likely pursue a claim and negotiate with the insurance company with little involvement from the dog owner. In this way, you avoid the back and forth that could hurt your relationship and still get the money you need to cover medical bills, lost income, and more.
You Need Someone To Protect Your Legal Rights
There is no legal requirement to hire an attorney before you file an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit. However, it is easy to make mistakes that could devalue your damages or even inhibit your ability to file at all. For example, the statute of limitations on a dog bite case is around three years in most states. Therefore, a simple mistake in the paperwork required to file could result in delays that may damage your case. You could even say something on a recorded call with the insurance company they hold against you, using it to devalue or deny your claim. Your legal representative will handle all those communications and protect your rights throughout the process.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney for Your Free Consultation
The aftermath of a dog bite accident can be devastating for everyone involved, but it is particularly difficult for the victims. Facing the financial, physical, and emotional consequences alone is not your only choice. You have nothing to lose from contacting a dog bite attorney. At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we represent our clients on contingency. This means we accept your case with the understanding that we only get paid if you get paid. The first element of the Stone Cold Guarantee ensures our clients of our commitment to their case. If you have questions about the details of your attack and your right to compensation, you can speak with an experienced attorney at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today for free. Contact us at (800) 577.5188 any day or time. There’s No Obligation, Just Information.