A New Mexico dog bite lawyer can help you after suffering an injury from a dog bite. The most important thing for you to do is focus on your health, safety, and well-being. However, sometimes the burdens of the legal process get in the way and make recovery much harder. Do yourself a favor, and don’t fight for compensation alone.
Our experienced attorneys may help you seek the recovery you may be entitled to. Zinda Law Group has extensive experience dealing with dog bite claims and may be able to help you too. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a dog bite, call Zinda Law Group for a free case evaluation with our dog bite lawyers in New Mexico today.
What Should I Do After a Dog Attack?
According to our New Mexico personal injury lawyers, the following are three easy steps you can take if a dog has bitten you and you want to put yourself in the best position possible to seek the maximum compensation that you may be entitled to:
- Seek Medical Attention – If a dog has bitten you, you should first seek medical treatment for your injuries.
- Document the Scene and Your Injuries – If possible, try to photograph the scene where the dog bite took place and take photos of your injuries while they are fresh. This documentation may serve as important evidence later on.
- Contact a Dog Bite Attorney – Contacting an experienced New Mexico dog bite lawyer is the best way to make sure your interests are protected. Our team of experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group can offer you a free initial case consultation to see if we can help.
Types of New Mexico Dog Bite Lawsuits
Just like dog breeds themselves, dog bite lawsuits come in many varieties. The following are some common types of dog bite cases that may lead to a future lawsuit:
Dangerous Dog Breeds
Depending on their upbringing or breed, some dogs can be more inherently dangerous than others. Some breeds have a higher tendency to attack humans. In this case, an owner may be liable for not taking the proper precautions to safeguard other people from their dog, who they know or should know is potentially more dangerous.
Non-Aggressive Dog Accidents
Dog bites can occur from non-aggressive dogs that unintentionally attack humans. Sometimes dogs can become excited and may jump on or bite a person even though they do not intend to hurt you. Other times, the injured party may provoke a non-aggressive dog.
Dog Attacks on Young Children
Dog bites on children can be particularly devastating because children are so vulnerable. Children who have been bitten by a dog not only experience physical injuries, but they often experience emotional trauma resulting from the incident.
Common Injuries in Animal Attacks
Dog bite injuries range from mild to severe. The following is a list of the types of injuries that may occur:
- Facial injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Puncture wounds
- Eye injuries such as corneal scratches
- Nerve damage
- Emotional trauma
Burns, torn meniscus, PTSD, anxiety, scarring, and possible nerve damage
Back and Leg Injuries
Motor Vehicle Collision
Motor Vehicle Collision
Dog Owner Responsibility
Some states may hold a dog owner responsible regardless of what happened by showing that the dog owner knew or should have known their dog was dangerous. This is known as strict liability. New Mexico law allows for recovery under a strict liability theory.
As a dog owner, you have a few responsibilities to make sure others are safe around your dog. If you have reason to know or should know that your dog is dangerous, you have a heightened responsibility to protect other people from your dog. For example, if you know your dog gets aggressive when they see the mailman, you shouldn’t let it outside off leash when you know the mailman is coming.
Dog bite victims can also sue for damages under a traditional theory of negligence by showing that a dog owner owed a duty of care to them and subsequently breached that duty through their actions. For example, this could be not keeping their dog on a proper leash, not keeping their dog properly fenced in, or allowing their dog in areas that have specifically banned dogs.
New Mexico law allows each municipality to regulate its leash laws. In Albuquerque, for example, all domesticated animals are required to be restricted by some type of enclosure or be on a leash no longer than 8 ft long.
Read More: New Mexico Premises Liability Lawyers
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Attack?
If you are bitten by a dog, you can potentially sue the owner of the dog that bit you or the person who was in charge of the dog at the time, depending on how the incident occurred. Essentially, whoever was negligent is the person who can be sued.
If you were partly responsible for the attack, it may impact the amount of compensation you can recover. If you provoked the dog, were trespassing on someone else’s land, or did something else to cause the incident, you may not be able to sue for your injuries.
Steps for Filing a Dog Bite Claim with a Lawyer in New Mexico
Though each case is unique, below are a few of the most common steps to filing a dog bite claim in New Mexico:
Call a Dog Bite Lawyer
Before speaking with the liable party or their insurance, speak to a New Mexico dog bite attorney. Having an experienced attorney looking out for your best interests can make a huge difference when seeking compensation for your claim.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
Establish Fault Through an Investigation
To succeed in your claim, you must establish that your injuries were the result of the dog owner’s negligence or that strict liability applies. Your attorney may investigate what happened and why. All you need to do is to worry about yourself and your physical and emotional recovery.
Negotiate with the Other Party or Their Insurer
Your attorney may represent you in negotiations with the at-fault party or their insurance company. Though the opposing party will usually try to minimize the amount of compensation you receive, an experienced attorney may emphasize the strengths of your case and reach a satisfactory agreement to avoid the expense of trial.
If you and the dog owner can’t agree on a settlement amount, your case may proceed to trial, where your lawyer may represent you in front of a judge and jury.
Dog Bite Compensation in New Mexico
If a dog has bitten you, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are easily calculated because they compensate you for bills and other quantifiable expenses. Economic damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Other incidentals
Non-economic damages are typically calculated by multiplying your medical bills by a number anywhere between one and five. The multiplier used depends on the severity of your dog bite. Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Your Case
New Mexico’s Statute of Limitations for Animal Attack Accidents
If you’re considering filing a dog bite claim, it’s important to understand your state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims. The statute of limitations is the law in your state that establishes a time limit on your ability to bring a particular type of claim. The standard time limit for personal injury claims is between two to three years, but this can vary.
Under New Mexico law, a victim of an accident has three years from the date of the accident to file a claim for compensation against the responsible party. Failure to file a claim within this time limit may result in your claim being dismissed, which will prevent you from recovering damages from the responsible party.
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA
Functions of a New Mexico Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Pet owners are often liable for bite injury claims, but many will try to avoid the legal consequences. That’s one of the reasons to get legal representation. Your personal injury lawyer can use evidence, such as your medical records, to prove your case and pursue damages.
However, there are many other things an experienced dog bite attorney can do for your bite incident:
- Conduct a private investigation. Your dog bite lawyer in New Mexico can investigate the accident site and look for veterinary records and police reports to find evidence of aggressive behavior in the same dog before.
- Determine liability. Animal attack claims can be difficult, particularly when there are many liable parties. Some potentially liable parties are property owners, dog owners, and dog training facilities.
- Calculate damages. Medical expenses, property damage, or psychological trauma can impact a victim’s life and can also be very difficult to calculate. That’s why most insurance companies completely ignore non-economic damages, for instance. But your attorney can help you determine an appropriate amount.
- Protecting your rights. Your attorney will take legal action to get the financial compensation you need while you take time to recover and get some peace of mind. But they will also ensure no insurance adjuster takes advantage of your difficult situation.
Hiring a New Mexico Dog Bite Lawyer
Having an attorney is in your best interest. Dog bite injuries are very common, but the legal process to recover compensation can be challenging. If you choose to represent yourself, there is very little chance you will get the compensation you are seeking.
Zinda Law Group has an experienced group of New Mexico attorneys who may fight tirelessly to ensure you are treated fairly. We work on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Call us today for a free consultation.