Who to Blame for a Dog BiteLast updated on: February 4, 2023
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Many people own dogs for their loyalty and affection. In fact, dogs are the most popular pet in America, with over 60 million US households owning one. While a well-trained dog is a source of companionship for a family and their guests, a dog who has not been properly socialized or who feels threatened can quickly become a terror.
If you were hurt by a dog, then you know firsthand just how dangerous they can be under the wrong circumstances. Contacting a dog bite lawyer could be your best shot at getting fair compensation after you sustain your injuries. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, call (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at Zinda Law Group today.
Causes of dog bites
Dogs can bite with or without warning for a variety of reasons which is why it is wise to be cautious around unfamiliar dogs. This is also why it is critical that dog owners ensure that their dog is properly trained and socialized before they allow guests into their home or take their dog to a park to interact with others. Some of the more common reasons that a dog might bite a victim include:
Dogs may not understand the difference between playing with adults, children, or other dogs. If they become very excited and get into a very playful mood, then they could start to play a bit too aggressively and nip or bite, as they might if they were playing with another dog. Though these sorts of bites aren’t signs of aggression, they can be just as devastating for the victim.
Protecting Their Pack
If a dog has not been trained to be around people other than its owner or their family, then they may have trouble distinguishing between an invited guest in the home and an intruder in the home. A friend coming over to the house may be interpreted by the dog as someone who is a threat to the family. If this happens, then they may bite out of an effort to keep their family members safe from what they believe to be a danger to themselves or their family.
Threatening or Scary Situations
It does not matter what the reality of the situation is, but rather, what the dog perceives it to be. For example, a stranger reaching out to pet a dog who hasn’t been around many people other than its family could be perceived as very threatening and scary. This can lead to biting out of self-protection. Other situations which a dog perceives to be threatening could be a jogger running by or being backed into a corner by someone who is unfamiliar.
dog bite injuries
Many dog bites do not leave their victims with lasting injuries and may be able to be fully treated with at-home care in the form of cleansing and antibiotic ointment. However, dog bites can also be very serious, even potentially fatal in the worst cases. It is critical that you seek the advice of a medical professional if you have sustained a dog bite as they will be able to give you a better understanding of the injuries you may have sustained. They can also give you tips for preventing the injury from becoming worse over time. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, some of the more common injuries that result from dog bites include:
Any sort of cut or wound in the skin leaves the body open to potential infection. This risk can be worse in the case of a dig bite given the bacteria in the dog’s mouth and the fact that a dog bite wound can be uneven and difficult to close. Infections are a potential injury that may not be apparent immediately after a dog bite occurs, which increases the importance of taking it seriously and promptly seeking the proper medical attention.
A dog bite can cause scarring, including damage to the facial tissue. In some cases, scarring can be so severe that the victim requires plastic surgery to get back to where they were before. Severe scarring can cause damage to a victims’ self-esteem and lead to lasting psychological damage.
Being attacked by a dog can be a truly terrifying experience. Victims—even those who had never been afraid of dogs before in their lives—can develop a deep and lasting fear of dogs. They may also develop PTSD after a dog bite, which can require extensive psychological treatment to address fully. The psychological damage from a dog attack can be more severe than a simple trip and fall, and it is important that dog bite victims take the mental and emotional components of their injuries seriously and seek the proper care.
Who do i blame for my dog bite?
After taking care of their medical needs, dog bite victims may begin to wonder about who may be at fault for a dog bite. After all, a dog bite is different from most other categories of personal injury law in that the dog themselves can obviously not be held liable or provide anything in the form of damages. In most cases, the owner of the dog will be the first person from whom a victim may seek to recover from. Dog owners take on a certain degree of responsibility when they decide to purchase a dog, and if they do not live up to this standard, then they can be held liable for their failure.
Other parties may also be held liable in the case of a dog bite. For example, a landlord who knows that one of their tenants has a dog who is dangerous but does nothing about it could potentially share in the blame for a dog bite. Someone who does not own a dog but is keeping watch over it for a period of time could also be held liable. Determining whether someone other than the owner of a dog might share in the liability for a dog bite is a fact-intensive inquiry that depends on the laws of the state in which the bite occurred. This is why getting advice from an experienced dog bite injury lawyer near you soon after your accident is critical.
The laws regarding liability for dog bites differ between states, and one of the major differences is whether or not a state has a “one-bite rule.” This rule essentially states that a dog gets one free bite before their owner will be held liable for the damage that it causes. In theory, the dog owner does not have a reason to believe that their dog is capable of causing this sort of damage until they see it happen, so states that have enacted a version of this rule will not typically hold owners liable until their dog has acted aggressively before.
In other states, dog owners are held liable under a theory of strict liability. Strict liability states will hold dog owners liable for the injuries that their dog causes regardless of whether they had acted in a negligent way. There are certainly exceptions to the one-bite rule, and every case is heavily dependent on the unique circumstances under which it occurred. A dog bite lawyer in your state will be able to tell you if the one-bite rule or strict scrutiny applies and what the best strategy may be for holding the owner or another party responsible for your injuries.
what is the value of my dog bite case?
If you have been injured in a dog bite accident, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The amount of these damages, however, will vary greatly depending on the facts of the case. Speaking generally, the total amount that an accident victim may receive in damages will be higher the worse the accident was, and lower if the accident was relatively minor.
Damages from any personal injury accident are generally grouped into economic and non-economic. Economic damages are the tangible, quantifiable costs that a victim incurs. For example, medical bills, damage to personal property, and lost wages from being unable to go to work would all fall under the classification of economic damages.
Non-economic damages are less objective but may still be recovered in a dog bite claim. Typically, non-economic damages refer to the pain and suffering experienced by an accident victim and can even include the emotional or mental suffering that can often accompany dog attacks. Whether your case is relatively minor or involved the fatality of a family member, an experienced dog bite lawyer can use their knowledge of prior cases to give you an estimate of what your case could potentially be worth.
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Dog attacks can be a terrifying experience that leave their victims with severe and costly injuries to deal with. However, no victim needs to go through the experience on their own. Zinda Law Group is ready to help you and your family through a very difficult time. In addition, we believe that accident victims shouldn’t have to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why you don’t pay us anything until we win your case for you. You can depend on this No Win, No Fee Guarantee.