For as long as I can remember, the legal field has always fascinated me. While my friends watched sitcoms and cartoons, I chose to watch courtroom dramas and real life trials unfold. There was never really any question as to what I wanted to be when I got older. The only profession for me was that of a trial lawyer. Unfortunately, a serious car accident several years ago changed all that. Now, my injuries prevent me from leaving my home most days. However, my love for the law has never went away. While I may not be able to realize my dreams of becoming a trail lawyer, I still wish to help people with their legal problems. That is why I decided to start this blog. It is my hope that the information contained in these pages will help other accident victims like me when filing their personal injury claims.
According to the American Humane Association, more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by man's best friend each year. Dog bites can be traumatizing. They cause pain, danger of infection, disfigurement, loss of work, PTSD and in some cases, financial hardship. Of course, dog bite victims can't sue the dog, but in some cases, they can sue the dog's owner for damages. However, dog bite laws are confusing, complex, and vary state-by-state. It's important to find an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in that genre to sort it all out. Here are 4 questions an attorney will likely ask to determine whether a case has a good chance for a ruling in the victim's favor.
Has the dog ever bitten anyone or shown a propensity for aggressive behavior before?
This is one of the most important factors in determining liability for a dog bite injury. Many states have a rule that states that a dog's owner may be held responsible if the owner had knowledge or reason to believe that the dog was dangerous. This is often called the "one-bite" rule. It means that a dog is allowed one bite, but from then on, the owner is on notice and must take appropriate action to protect the public, such as putting up warning signs and making sure the dog is properly confined. Otherwise, he or she will be considered liable if their dog causes injury to another person.
Other states impose a strict liability rule, under which owners are legally responsible if their dog bites someone, even if the owner had no reason to believe it would do so.
Where did the bite occur?
In many cases, a dog bite that happens on the dog owner's property is treated differently than a bite that happens on the victim's property or a public place. A person who is bitten while on the dog owner's property without permission may be considered a trespasser and will likely not be entitled to compensation for a bite. People with implied consent to be on the property such as postal workers or delivery personnel, are usually considered exempt from trespassing in associated bite cases.
Was the owner negligent?
Did the owner take the necessary measures to prevent dog attacks? Owners who let their dogs wander freely or fail to adequately prevent their dogs from roaming freely are much more likely to be held responsible for a dog attack resulting in injury.
Was the victim provoking the dog or engaging in illegal activity?
As with trespassing, a person who is engaging in illegal activity such as burglary or illegal substance use or delivery, will likely not be able to claim damages due to a dog attack. Also, in cases where a person is considered to be provoking a dog, such as poking sticks or other objects through a fence or making threatening actions or sounds, the dog's owner might not be considered at fault and therefore not be held liable for damages if the dog retaliates.
It's important for dog-bite victims to know or discover the answers to these questions. They should also immediately seek medical attention, file a report with the authorities, take notes about the incident and take pictures of any pertinent details, such as the wound, the dog, and any things that indicate a failure to control or confine the dog. Then contact a personal injury attorney with experience in the complexities of dog bite law to sort out the details.Share
19 October 2015