Dog Bites Can Result in Serious Injuries
Dog Bite Law
Most American states make dog owners liable for all dog bites when a person is bitten, based simply on owning the dog that did the biting. Alabama is with the minority of states that requires the dog be vicious or dangerous and the owner to have been careless in management of the animal.
Fortunately the victim’s legal damages are covered by most homeowners and renters’ insurance policies purchased by dog owners, and by general liability policies that insure businesses and public entities.
Only 16,000 dog bite victims receive such insurance payments per year, however, even though about 5 million Americans are bitten. For that reason, the services of Attorney Ken Guin who represents victims without charge unless and until money is recovered.
Those who own, harbor or keep a dog may be held liable for the payment of compensation if it harms a person, a domestic animal, a farm animal, or property of any sort.
The one bite rule
In every state, a dog owner or harborer will be held liable if he knew, before the biting incident, that his dog had the tendency to bite people without justification.
The names “one bite rule” and “first bite free rule” are inaccurate because a “bite” is not necessarily required. A victim is entitled to recover if he can prove simply that the dog previously demonstrated that it wanted to bite people, and that the dog owner knew (or should have known) that the dog previously demonstrated this vicious tendency.
The victim is compensated by the dog owner’s insurance company
Statistically only one in six dog bite victims will receive medical attention, so the “usual” dog bite does not result in a claim for compensation other than medical expenses. When the injury is serious and the dog owner is liable, however, either the dog owner or his insurance company has to fully compensate the victim. Homeowner’s insurance policies and renter’s insurance policies usually provide full coverage for dog bite injuries. Whether or not the dog owner is liable, the “guest medical coverage” in such policies often will reimburse the victim’s medical costs up to the policy limit, which usually is only $1,000 but often is $5,000 or more.
Compensation For Dog Bites And Attacks
The damages available to a plaintiff in a dog bite lawsuit are generally the same available in other personal injury claims. First, the plaintiff can receive economic damages for the direct financial impact of an injury. For example, the plaintiff in a dog bite case can claim compensation for his or her medical expenses resulting from the accident. This can include immediate costs like hospital bills as well as long-term medical costs for physical therapy and other types of rehabilitation.
Other economic damages available in a canine bite injury lawsuit can include lost wages if the plaintiff had to miss work to recover from the attack. If the attack also damaged or destroyed any of the plaintiff’s personal belongings, such as an expensive watch, designer handbag, or smartphone, the plaintiff can claim the costs of replacing or repairing these items as economic damages in a personal injury case.
Plaintiffs can also receive non-economic damages for things like physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish after a dog attack. The jury reviewing the lawsuit will assess the plaintiff’s claimed damages and consider expert witness testimony to determine an acceptable amount of compensation for pain and suffering.
Why Hire a Dog Bite Attorney?
One way to combat this misconception is by hiring a qualified attorney to handle your dog bite case in order to determine your legal options. The legal system can’t make moves to prevent incidents and care for dog bite victims if awareness is not raised.
A bite attorney offers you help in confronting the financial and emotional ramifications of the situation. They know the process and what to expect in the short and long term. When hiring an attorney to handle such a case, look for no up-front costs and an attorney who is willing to have his or her fee based on whether they win the case or not.
When selecting an attorney, you want to look for someone that offers a free consultation and someone with expertise and experience in the field. This gives you the best help in arriving at a satisfactory conclusion that compensates you and protects others from harm.
very type of legal battle contains nuances that need to be understood to approach and not fail out of the gate. In the case of dog bites, an attorney needs to be familiar with dealing with doctors, vets, animal control, and insurance companies.
Evidence has to be gathered quickly to avoid delays in both coverage of care and before it disappears. Information on the breed of the dog, the location and severity of the bite, and treatment protocols all need to be considered to determine both the facts of the case and the road to recovery.
Without experience in all of these elements, an attorney can miss a crucial step opening holes in the case or leaving out needed compensation.
Knowing what to do is only half the battle. An attorney also needs experience in court and working with the various players in that field. No amount of theory replaces practical, hands-on knowledge.
Working with dozens of clients a year and seeing them awarded fairly and routinely is the mark of a good attorney.
Experienced attorneys also help to ensure that the process of your dog bite lawsuit is handled swiftly, without hassle. You need to focus on your recovery and not battling in court. You also need medical bills paid and your finances secured from lost wages and other stressors ASAP.
The Attacking Dog Was Owned By My Friend/Family, And I Don’t Want To Sue Them.
This is a common issue that arises because we are usually around dogs that are owned by our friends, neighbors, and/or family members. The fact that you know the individual is reason enough to hire a lawyer. Direct contact with the dog owner who is also friend or family can be very uncomfortable. This is when it is helpful to just tell the owner that you have a lawyer that is going to handle this stressful situation with the owner’s insurance company.
The likelihood that you would have to sue to settle your case only arises when a lawyer is not involved. An experienced lawyer knows how to present the evidence and facts in such a way that places the risk on the insurance carrier and forces them to settle. Remember, the money we are seeking for your injury is from the dog owner’s insurance carrier, not from the dog owner directly. When the claim has been paid, the dog owner will realize that it is his or her insurance company that paid the claim, not him.
Pitbulls are responsible for most significant injuries and fatalities
Any dog can be dangerous, especially those that are trained to be aggressive. In Portland, dog bite cases with significant injuries seem to involve Pitbulls most often. That has been our experience. Nationwide fatal dog bite attack statistics confirm our suspicion. In 2018 there were 36 fatal dog attacks in the United States, 26 involved pit bulls. That is 72% of all the fatal attacks. The remaining 28% is spread pretty evenly across mixed breeds (8%), Rottweilers (6%), Mastiffs/Bullmastiffs (6%), and Dogo Argentino (6%).
Children get hurt and killed most
Looking at the fatality statistics from 20018 also proves what we see in Portland dog bite injury cases. The victims are generally children. Of the 36 fatal dog attacks nationally in 2018, 15 (42%) were six-years-old or younger. The majority of those child victims (73%) were under two years old. Because children cannot bring a lawsuit, dog bite cases often involve establishing a conservator or guardian ad litem to bring a claim on behalf of the child.