Dogs are wonderful companions and one of America’s most common and beloved pets. Unfortunately, dog bites are also very common. There are an estimated 4.5 million people bitten by dogs every year in the U.S. While some of these dog attacks are unprovoked, others may be due to negligence by the owner.
In this post, we’ll discuss the details of a personal injury claim for dog bites. We’ll also look at how a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog attacks may be able to help you in the case of owner negligence.
Nature of Dog Bites
Dog bites are dealt with according to the severity of the bite and the circumstances surrounding it. For example, a slight nip from a tiny dog like a chihuahua is far less likely to severely injure a person than a full-on attack from a large breed such as a German Shepherd. The circumstances also depend on the owner’s actions and if they knew their dog to be potentially dangerous.
When it comes to injury claims, not every dog bite will need the help of a lawyer for personal injury. However, if your injuries are severe and you need help to cover medical expenses or time off work, you may need the help from a personal injury attorney.
So when is an owner liable for injuries from dog bites? This depends on what state you live in, as each state has different laws covering dog bite liability. The laws fall under dog bite statutes, one bite laws or negligence laws.
Dog Bite Statutes
The majority of the states in the U.S. have dog bite statutes that say unless the dog was provoked, the owner is responsible for any injuries it causes. To prove the dog owner’s liability, the injured person must show their injury is due to a dog bite. They also need to prove that the bite occurred in a public place or they were legally on private property. If you are trespassing, the owners aren’t liable.
One Bite Laws
States with one bite laws say an owner is liable for the injury if they knew their dog had the potential to be dangerous. Usually, the burden is on the injured person to prove that the dog had previous violent behavior that the owner knew about. The injured person can use police reports, witness statements or copies of citations from a local animal control center to prove violent behavior.
These laws state that the owner is liable for any injuries caused by their dog. So the owner is at fault if they don’t have their dog on a leash and it bites someone. Negligence, in this case, means a failure to provide reasonable care to avoid harm to others.
When You Need A Personal Injury Lawyer
Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance generally covers most dog bite claims. Approximately $550 million is paid by insurance companies in dog-bite claims each year. However, handling a claim can be complex, and most insurance companies will only offer the minimum amount possible.
It can be challenging to determine which liability laws apply in your case. It’s also difficult to gather all the information you need to prove your claim. Finding a personal injury attorney specializing in dog attacks is the best way to get a good outcome for your case. Experienced lawyers for personal injury can review your case in a free consultation and advise you on the best steps to take.
If you are looking for the best lawyers for personal injury in your area, contact LegalASAP. We can connect you with our network of experienced and available personal injury attorneys. They can help you take legal action in your dog bite claim. Complete your free online evaluation today to see if you qualify.