A dog attack or bite is extremely scary, but not knowing if the dog owner will be responsible for any of the losses that the victim has sustained is just as frightening. If the victim wants to be fairly compensated for any damages related to the incident, he/she should understand when to contact a lawyer for an attack that was by a dog.
Important Information About Dog Attacks
Dog attacks are more common in the United States than most people might think. Although dog attacks can affect all people, the most common injuries are to children. Almost everyone who has been attacked by a dog has suffered from serious laceration injuries, but children were especially susceptible to these severe cuts and gashes. Many experts estimate that 77 percent of the injuries to small kids’ involve their heads and faces, and most of these lacerations could eventually result in infections.
According to much research, the damages of these types of attacks are estimated to be over $2 billion dollars a year and at least 61 percent of these incidences occur in the owner’s home or immediate neighborhood. A fair amount of dog attacks will be caused by familiar dogs or ones that are not considered dangerous. Regardless of the breed of the dog, after these attacks occur, most victims do not know the next step as many do not want to sue their family or neighbors, and even if they did want to seek compensation for their losses, they do not understand the law as it relates to dogs in general. An experienced dog bite attorney at a Los Angeles based firm can ensure that his/her clients’ severe injuries and medical bills are completely covered by their insurance company and the victim receives proper compensation for his/her losses.
Determining When to Contact a Lawyer for a Dog Attack Injury
- Dog attacks victims should ask themselves the following questions before contacting a lawyer.
- Did the incidence cause long-lasting damages?
- Why did the dog attack? Was it unprovoked?
- Did the dog bite happen on public property?
- Did the owner infringe upon a local “leash law” when the dog attack happened?
- Was the dog a Pit Bull Terrier or Rottweiler?
Has the dog in question been involved in multiple dog attacks or bites?
If the victim has answered “yes” to many of these questions, he/she may need to contact a dog attack attorney.
Steps to Take After a Victim Has Been Attacked By a Dog
Obtain Dog Owner’s Information: After a victim has been attacked by a dog, the dog owner’s information should be obtained as soon as possible. If you have concerns about the dog owner providing false information, you may want to snap a photo of the owner and the dog for future reference.
Identify Witnesses: The victim should also obtain the name and contact information of any witnesses of the dog attack. Witnesses may play an important role in corroborating the victim’s story.
Receive Medical Treatment: When a person has become injured from a dog attack, he/she should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Before receiving professional care, victims should explain how they were injured so that they can receive proper treatment and the incident can be documented appropriately.
Document Medical Expenses: Dog attack victims should make sure that they document their medical expenses, especially if they are going to pursue compensation for their losses. These medical expenses may include prescription drug costs, medical bills, and insurance copays.
Report the Dog Attack to Professionals Who Handle Animal Attacks: After victims have been medically treated, they should report the incidence to nearby authorities who are responsible for animal attacks. The victim should definitely complete this step if there were no tags found on the dog or the owner could not be located.
Check Animal Control Records: In order to provide further evidence for the case, victims should check animal control records for prior attacks by the same dog in question. The purpose of this step is to obtain more evidence to help victims win their case.
Keep Records of Accident-Related Items: If victims wants to receive a fair amount of compensation for their losses, they should maintain proper records of important information such as documentation of the accident, medical injuries and treatment, key conversations, and expenses related to the incidence.
Standard and Burden of Proof for Liability to Attach
Many states require that a dog has attacked at least one person in the past before a victim can sue a dog owner. In California, the legislature has determined that a dog owner is strictly liable when his or her dog bites another person even if it’s the dog’s first attack.
Before recovering any money from the attack, victims must provide proof of
1. The location of the attack. If dog attack victims were injured on publicly open property, they are more likely to receive compensation than if they were hurt on private property while trespassing.
2. The owner or controller of the dog
3. The injury that was a result of the dog attack
Compensation Afforded Victims Include
- Lost Wages and Employment
- Recovery of Hospital and Therapy Bills
- Past, Present, and Future Pain and Suffering
- Home Nursing Care
- Loss of Consortium
- Punitive Damages