Dog Bite Lawsuit: Everything You Need to Know About Submitting a Claim
4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the United States. Also, 1 out of 5 bites become infected.
If you’re looking to submit a claim over a dog bite or injuries related to some else’s dog, you have to be conversant with the statute of limitation and how it applies to your case.
This is also the case for dog owners who’re worried that they may be sued for incidences involving their dog.
Dog owners are mostly held liable for their dog causing injury to other people. Usually, a fair settlement is reached without having to file for a lawsuit. However, there are cases where the injured party will sue the dog owner and hold him accountable.
Curious about what you need to file a dog bite lawsuit? Our thorough guide will simplify the process for you during this stressful time.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Law Suit?
The One Bite Law
Under the one bite law, if the owner of a dog knows that a dog is prone to biting because of recent events or its general character, he is liable for the dog's bite.
However, the focus will be on whether the owner knew or should have known that the dog might bite, and if he/she took the required precaution based on the knowledge.
For instance, if an aggressive dog has just recently gone through surgery, and the owner fails to warn the guest, he/she will be liable if the guest is bitten by mistakenly aggravating the area of the dog’s surgery.
The type of circumstantial evidence that accuser will rely on may include how the owner trained the dog, what the owner used the dog for, as well as the dog’s breed.
Strict Liability Dog Bite Law
Under the strict liability for dog bites, the defendant may be held responsible if particular events occur, regardless of whether the defendant could have done anything.
Under this law, the defendant is liable if the dog bit the accuser, and he/she didn't provoke the dog. Under the strict liability law, what the owner knows or doesn’t know about the dog before the bit is irrelevant.
Dog Owner Negligence
Negligence is the lack of care that a reasonably careful person would exercise in a similar situation.
So, if the conduct of a person doesn’t measure up to that of a careful and ordinarily prudent person, then that person is negligent. For instance, it’s negligence to leave a stray dog into a daycare center.
In such cases, the accuser has to prove that the defendant should have exercised care to prevent the dog from harming others. He/ she should also prove that the defendant possessed or owned an animal.
Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Compared to most personal injury cases, dog bite cases are relatively straightforward. It’s, however, essential to note that the injuries sustained should have been inflicted by a dog bite.
For most states, the deadline for filing personal injury cases is between one to six days after the injury has occurred. If you file your case after the timeframe elapses, the dog owner may ask the court to dismiss your case.
If you think of settling your case without a lawsuit (negotiating a claim with a dog owners’ insurance carrier), you have to make sure that you give yourself enough time just in case you may need to file a lawsuit.
Once you’ve established a liable party, you have to make a list of the current and future costs resulting from the injury.
The fees should cover permanent disability, rehabilitation, permanent scarring, lost wages, and so on.
Dog bites are traumatic events that result in physical damage (injury) as well as psychological scarring. So, you may be compensated for the emotional damages that you’ve endured.
You may have to deal with an insurance provider during the process of your claim. However, you’ve got to compile evidence to ascertain that the bite occurred.
Otherwise, the insurance provider may choose to refuse to cover you. Examples of tangible evidence include witness reports, incident reports, and medical bills.
Once you’ve gathered evidence and established damages, the next step is to hire a dog bite lawyer to help you file your lawsuit.
While the chances are that a dog owner may be protected by insurance, most insurers don’t cover such incidents. If they do, your lawyer will work to negotiate a settlement with the insurance provider.
If not, the lawyer will file a claim against the dog owner in court. From that point, he/she can choose whether to settle or go to trial.
Choosing a Dog Bite Lawyer
If you’ve sustained injuries from a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for disfigurement, psychological counseling to overcome emotional trauma, lost wages, pain and suffering and so on.
This can only be accomplished if you find an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer with experience in dog bite cases.
They’ll be in a position to help you understand liability laws in your state. This is important because if you have to win a case, you’ve got to prove that the dog owner was responsible for the dog’s action.
Here’s How to File for a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Before you embark on a dog bite lawsuit, it’s vital that you understand the statutes of limitation as this will help you seek the best legal redress for your claim.
If you’re to file a claim, you have to do it within the required time-frame, or your case is likely to be dismissed.
If you choose to pursue your case, you have to establish liable parties, then make a list of cost resulting in the injury. If severe injuries were inflicted, you might be compensated for emotional damage.
Collection of evidence is vital if you’re to make a solid case, and could include medical bills and incident reports.
Have you been recently bitten by a dog and have no idea how to go about filing for a claim? Contact us, and we will help you file your lawsuit.