Dog Bite Injury Lawyers

Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the US each year. Not only does they involve physical pain, but also emotional distress and unforeseen medical costs. To make matters worse, you might be unsure of your legal rights following such an incident. 

Are you entitled to compensation? If so, how much? Who is to be held accountable? And most importantly, how does the legal process work? 

You’re in the right place. This article will answer all these questions and more, equipping you with the knowledge you need to navigate the aftermath of a dog bite injury. 

two dangerous dogs barking at fence

Common Causes of Dog Bite Accidents

It’s vital to understand that there are numerous reasons why dog bite incidents occur. Often these accidents are a result of certain situations or behaviors, both from the dog and the individual involved. Here are some of the most common causes: 

  • Unfamiliarity: Dogs often bite when they encounter someone unfamiliar in their territory.
  • Fear or Distress: A scared or stressed dog may bite in an attempt to defend itself.
  • Protective Instinct: Dogs can become aggressive if they perceive a threat to their loved ones or possessions.
  • Pain or Illness: Dogs suffering from pain or illness may snap or bite when handled.
  • Poor Training: Insufficient training or socialization can lead to aggressive behavior in dogs.
  • Provocation: Accidental or intentional provocation can trigger a bite. Children for example can accidently scare or provoke a dog, dog bites are most common among children aged 5-9 years old.

The Most Common Injuries Sustained from Dog Bites

When a dog bites, it’s not just a minor inconvenience. The injuries can range from superficial to severe, and they often involve more than just physical damage. Here are the most common injuries sustained from dog bites: 

  • Puncture Wounds: These are deep, narrow wounds produced by sharp objects such as dog teeth. They may not bleed much, but they can damage internal organs if the bite is deep enough.
  • Lacerations: These are tears in the skin, which can vary in depth. They are often the result of a dog pulling away while its teeth are still in the skin.
  • Fractures: If a dog bite is especially severe, it can result in broken bones. This is more likely to occur if the dog is large or the victim is a child or elderly person.
  • Infections: Dog mouths are teeming with bacteria, and when they bite, those bacteria can enter the wound. This can lead to infections like cellulitis or, in more severe cases, sepsis.
  • Rabies: Extremely rare with only 1-2 cases annually in the US with most cases due to people being overseas when biten or wild animals. If you were bitten by a dog overseas then any legal action, if available, would fall under the juristiction you were in at the time.

Each of these injuries can have long-lasting effects on the victim, both physically and mentally. It’s important to understand the potential severity of a dog bite and take the necessary steps to seek compensation if you’ve been injured.

Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Injury

Being bitten by a dog can be a shocking and traumatic experience. However, knowing the steps to take immediately after the incident and subsequently can make a significant difference in handling the situation and establishing a claim. Here’s a brief guide: 

  • Ensure Safety: Your immediate concern should be for your safety and the safety of others. Move away from the dog and find a secure location.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Regardless of the severity of the bite, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. The risk of infection is high, and some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
  • Gather Information: If possible, gather information about the dog and the dog’s owner such as breed, color, size, name, and any identifying features. Also, try to obtain the owner’s contact details.
  • Report the Incident: Report the dog bite to your local animal control or police department. This helps to create an official record of the incident.
  • Document the Incident: Take photographs of your injuries, the location where the incident occurred, and the dog if possible. Also, keep a record of all medical treatment and expenses associated with the injury.
  • Contact a Lawyer: If you’re considering making a claim, it’s advisable to seek advice from a lawyer specializing in dog bite injuries. They can guide you through the process and help maximize your compensation.

Remember, processing a dog bite claim may take time and requires evidence. So, the more information you gather at the time of the incident, the stronger your case will be.

Am I entitled to a dog bite compensation?

As an individual who has suffered from a dog bite injury, you may be wondering how dog breed plays into your chances for compensation. Victims of dog bites may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Let’s unpack this a bit. Dog owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their pets and claims are often covered by a home owners insurance. In 2020, dog bite claims accounted for over one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims and the average claim was $50,245.

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) has been implemented in numerous cities and states to regulate or ban certain breeds deemed to be dangerous, often including breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds. It’s vital to understand this legislation as it may impact your legal rights and the potential for compensation. 

Most Common Dog Breeds Involved in US Dog Bite Injuries 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following breeds are most often implicated in incidents of dog bites: 

  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute

However, it’s important to note that any dog, regardless of breed, can bite and cause injury, particularly if it feels threatened or scared. Pit bulls and Rottweilers are responsible for the majority of fatal dog attacks. The behavior of the dog and the circumstances surrounding the incident play a critical role in dog bite cases. 

BreedPercentage of Dog Bite Incidents
Pit Bull22%
German Shepherd10%
Siberian Husky6%
Alaskan Malamute4%

Remember, the breed of the dog involved in your incident does not solely determine your rights to compensation. It’s the dog owner’s responsibility to control their pet and prevent harm to others, regardless of the breed.

Compensation Available for Dog Bite Injury Victims

When you’re the victim of a dog bite injury, it’s not just the physical pain that you have to deal with. There are often psychological and financial burdens that come with it as well. Thankfully, there are several forms of compensation available that can significantly alleviate these issues. 

Types of Compensation Available for Dog Bite Injury Victims 

  • Medical Expenses: This includes emergency room visits, medications, surgeries, and any other related healthcare costs.
  • Lost Wages: If the injury caused you to miss work, you can be compensated for the income you lost during that period.
  • Pain and Suffering: This refers to the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the incident. The amount will depend on the severity of the trauma.
  • Property Damage: If your belongings were damaged during the incident, you may be reimbursed for their value.
  • Future Medical Expenses: If your injuries require ongoing medical care or therapy, you can be compensated for the projected costs.

Remember, every situation is unique, and the exact compensation you may receive can vary based on the specifics of your case. Therefore, it’s always advisable to consult with a professional dog bite injury lawyer who can guide you through the process. 

Legal experts can help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you’re entitled to, so don’t hesitate to seek their assistance.

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, it’s crucial that you understand your rights and the compensation you’re eligible for. Don’t let the financial burden add to the trauma of your experience. Get the help you need, and ensure you’re adequately compensated for your ordeal.

Time Limits for Filing a Dog Bite Injury Claim

When it comes to dog bite injuries, timing is crucial. States have specific timeframes, called statutes of limitations, within which you must file a lawsuit for a dog bite injury. Failing to file within this period may bar you from ever seeking compensation for your injuries. 

Keep in mind: 

The countdown for these statutory time limits typically starts on the date of the dog bite incident. However, some exceptions may extend or shorten this timeframe.

Here’s a general rundown of time frames by state: 

StateStatute of Limitations
California2 Years
Texas2 Years
Florida4 Years
New York3 Years

However, always double-check with local regulations or a legal professional, as these can change. 

What are the responsibilities of a dog owner in case of a dog bite incident?

Dog owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their pets. In the event of a dog bite, the owner’s obligations are not only critical but also legally binding. Let’s dive into some of these responsibilities: 

  • Manage and Control: Dog owners must have full control over their pets at all times, preventing any aggressive behavior towards others.
  • Proper Training: Training is fundamental. Dogs should be taught to interact safely with people and other animals.
  • Leash Laws: Abiding by leash laws is imperative. Dogs should be securely leashed in public places to prevent unexpected attacks.
  • Warning Signs: If a dog shows signs of aggression, it’s the owner’s duty to warn others and take steps to prevent any potential incident.
  • Up-to-date Vaccinations: Keeping the pet’s vaccinations, especially for rabies, up-to-date is crucial for public safety.

In addition to these, owners must also be aware of their local Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL), which may hold them to higher standards of liability based on their dog’s breed. Ignorance of the law doesn’t excuse anyone from their responsibilities. 

Note: These responsibilities may vary depending on local and state laws. Always check with a local legal expert or your city’s animal control department for the most accurate information.

The Importance of Breed-Specific Legislation

Understanding the significance of breed-specific legislation can be particularly crucial when seeking compensation for dog bite injuries. Some states have breed-specific legislation that regulates or bans certain breeds of dogs. These laws are designed to hold dog owners accountable for their pets’ behavior, especially if they own a breed that is considered more likely to be dangerous or aggressive.

When is Compensation More Likely?

  • High-Risk Breeds: If the dog involved belongs to a breed identified as high-risk under local legislation, the chances of obtaining compensation increase. These breeds often include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds.
  • Previous Dangerous Behavior: If a dog has shown aggressive behavior in the past or has bitten someone before, it makes a stronger case for your claim. History of violence makes owner negligence more apparent.
  • Violation of Leash Laws: If the incident occurred while the dog was off-leash in an area where leash laws apply, the dog owner may be held liable for failing to control their pet.

When is Compensation Less Likely? 

  • Provocation: If the injured party provoked the dog, causing it to react aggressively, compensation may be harder to obtain.
  • Trespassing: If the victim was unlawfully on the dog owner’s property when bitten, the chances of compensation decrease.
  • No Prior Incidents: In cases where the dog has never shown signs of aggression before, it may be more difficult to argue owner negligence.

In conclusion, breed-specific legislation and the circumstances surrounding the incident play a key role in determining the likelihood of receiving compensation for dog bite injuries. It’s important to consult with a knowledgeable dog bite injury lawyer who understands the intricacies of these laws and can help you navigate your claim.

Note: The information provided is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a professional dog bite injury lawyer for advice tailored to your situation.

Updated on September 20, 2023

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