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Legal Options If You’re Bitten by a Dog

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According to statistics, there were up to three fatalities each month in 2018 that were the result of dog bites. 15 of the incidents reported in 2018 involved children, while 83% of fatal dog attacks occurred on the dog owner’s property.

Dog and pet owners have a legal responsibility to make sure their animals don’t injure other people or damage property. If you or a loved one have been bitten or suffered a serious injury due to a dog attack, then you can pursue legal action against the owner of the animal. Dog and pet owners found liable for an attack that results in injury or property damage can be ordered to reimburse the injured party for medical expenses, time lost from work, and pain and suffering.

Most states have strict liability dog-bite laws that render pet owners financially responsible for dog bites, regardless of the owner’s carelessness or the animal’s history. In states without strict liability dog-bite laws, owners can be held liable under a principle called the one-bite rule, which makes dog owners responsible for injuries if they knew or should’ve known that the animal was likely to inflict harm on someone. If the injured party provoked the dog or was trespassing at the time of the injury, then strict liability dog-bite statutes won’t apply.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

The following steps can help you build a strong case to prove the dog owner’s negligence:

  • Identify the Owner: Obtain the name and address of the owner or person handling the dog. Even if you think the injury is minor, make sure to obtain this information in case you have internal injuries that might not yet be apparent, such as bruising and swelling from the force of the bite or the animal knocking you over.
  • Witness Information: You will need someone to support your claims regarding the incident, so make sure you also obtain the name and address of anyone who saw the dog attack. Between information from witnesses and your description of the dog, animal control authorities might be able to track down the owner.
  • Seek Medical Care: The risk of infection from a dog bite shouldn’t be ignored, which is why you should always seek professional medical treatment after being bitten or attacked by a dog.  Make sure you keep copies of any medical records or receipts for bills.
  • Take Pictures: If possible, take pictures of the dog and any visible injuries and property damage. You should also take pictures of anything at the scene of the injury that might support your version of what occurred, such as an open gate or evidence that the animal wasn’t on a leash when it should have been.
  • Report the Attack to Animal Control Authorities: Some cities and states require that dogs be quarantined after they attack people to determine if the animal is rabid. Animal control authorities can also go to the owner's address to pick up the dog for that purpose. You should ask to see records at the animal control department to determine if the dog has attacked someone in the past.

Do you have more questions about pursuing compensation for a dog bite injury? Then reach out to our experienced legal team at Daspit Law Firm today to schedule your free case consultation. Give us a call today at (888) 273-1045 to speak to our friendly professionals about all of your legal options.

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