Pet ownership is a serious responsibility, and neglectful owners sometimes fail to train or control their pets as needed. When an attack occurs, it can have very serious consequences and may even be fatal, leaving people incapacitated and scarred for life.
Know the RiskEach year there are over 4.5 million reported dog bites in the United States. This means that a dog bite takes place nearly every minute of every day. Over 1,000 of these victims visit the ER each day to get treatment for their injuries.
Approximately one in every five dog bite will become infected. This means that even a seemingly minor bite could become deadly.
Understand Your RightsAll dog bite victims have laws to protect them. Filing a lawsuit to recover damages after being bitten is possible, just as it is with any other personal injury. People have the right to request compensation for their medical bills, loss of work and their pain and suffering. Additional compensation for potential future expenses and property damage are also possible.
Deciding Who PaysAfter an attack, the victim will need to decide who they should file their lawsuit against. The most common defendants in these cases are the insurance companies that provide the dog owner with their home or auto coverage. If these policies do not exist there are still options. The victim may sue the owner directly or the property owner where the attack took place.
Avoiding Defense TacticsNot all dog owners are considered responsible when a dog attacks. There are some common defenses that victims should be aware of that may be used against them. Some owners will claim their pet was provoked, the victim knew the dog was aggressive and ignored the warning or the victim was committing a crime at the time of the attack.
Preparing a CaseReporting the incident to the police and visiting a doctor for treatment helps to provide a reliable record of the injury. Victims, or their family members, should get the names and contact information of all witnesses and record the details of the event. This includes the date, time and location. It is also a good idea to have photographic evidence of the injuries.
Check Past BehaviorResearching the previous behavior of the dog and the owner is a useful step. Some people are known to habitually keep dangerous dogs, and some dogs have histories of aggression. This type of information makes it easier for injury attorneys to prove the dog owner was neglectful and did not take the appropriate steps to control their pets or keep others safe.
Get Legal AssistanceReviewing the history of the owner and requesting a full evaluation of the dog, its surroundings, and its behavior is not always easy or possible for the average person. A law firm will have people on staff that understand this process and know how to get the information they need.
Avoid Feeling GuiltyIt is true that dogs may be euthanized after an attack and this may discourage some people from seeking the medical help they need or reporting the event. When this happens it increases the risk of the dog potentially harming someone else. No one should feel guilty for protecting themselves and their neighbors.
Dog bite injuries are a serious problem in the United States and irresponsible owners need to be identified. Do not delay in getting the assistance you need. If bitten by a dog call Carlson, Blau and Clemens. We represent people that have been victimized by aggressive dogs and do all we can to help people get the compensation they deserve.