Dogs are the most popular pet in America by a wide margin. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, over 60 million US households own a dog, over 10 million more than cats, the next most popular pet. However, this high rate of dog ownership leads to a large number of dog bites. Hiring a dog bite lawyer in Albuquerque can be critical for recovering damages.
Current estimates place the number of people bitten by a dog each year in the US at about 2% of the population, or about 4.7 million people per year. Contacting an Albuquerque dog bite lawyer is a good first step in seeking the compensation you may be entitled to after a dog bite.
If you or a loved one has suffered from the effects of a dog bite, contact a Zinda Law Group Albuquerque personal injury lawyer over the phone or through our website for a free consultation.
Types of Dog Bite Lawsuits
No two dog bite claims will ever be the same. Determining the type of dog bite claim you will be filing is an essential first step in seeking maximum compensation for your injuries.
The first image that comes to mind when thinking about dog bites for many people may be the image of an aggressive dog breaking free from its restraints and biting its victim out of spite. However, this is not always the case. A dog may become aggressive towards another dog, and a human who attempts to intervene can very easily be bitten themselves.
Non-Aggressive Dog Bite Incidents
Dogs do not even need to act aggressively to cause injuries. They may bite as a result of engaging in overly rough play. They may also bite as a result of instinct, such as a herding dog who is attempting to “herd” a small child.
Children Bitten By Dogs
Dealing with a child who has been bitten by a dog can be especially complex. For one, children cannot often defend themselves in the same way that an adult might be able to, which means that they may be susceptible to suffering more severe injuries. Children may also require treatment to deal with mental and emotional suffering, like PTSD.
Common Injuries in Dog Bite Cases
Most injuries stemming from a dog bite have to do with the ripping and tearing from a dog’s teeth. However, injuries can quickly move past simple puncture wounds and become very serious and sometimes life-threatening.
Dog bites can sometimes create irregular, open wounds that are difficult to fix with stitches or sutures. Dog bites also present the risk of infection because of the bacteria that might be present in a dog’s mouth at the time of the bite.
Facial injuries are some of the most commonly suffered by dog bite victims. Facial bites can lead to the victim having to have multiple surgeries and sets of stitches. Facial injuries can also include fractured skulls and jawbones, eye injuries, broken noses, and other injuries.
Depending on the breed and size, dogs can have surprisingly strong jaws. As a result, dog bites can move past breaking the skin and sometimes crush or damage internal organs and muscles. These sorts of injuries can result in crippling and/or permanent damage.
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For a free legal consultation with a dog bite lawyer serving Albuquerque, call 800-863-5312
What to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog
There are a variety of steps you should take after a dog bite. Taking action quickly after an attack can protect your physical well-being and financial future.
Seek Medical Attention
First and foremost, it is important to address your injuries by going to a doctor. A qualified medical professional may be able to address the extent and severity of your injuries and set you on the path toward recovery.
As you attend doctor’s visits, make sure to keep detailed records of your injuries, diagnosis, and treatment. This information can be crucial in obtaining compensation by establishing the link between the dog bite and your injuries.
Document the Incident
You should thoroughly document the incident after getting the appropriate medical attention for your injuries. This can include getting the contact information for the owner of the dog and any witnesses, taking pictures of the dog, your injuries, and the surrounding environment, and keeping track of your medical records as you receive treatment.
Report the Incident
Reporting the dog bite to the appropriate Albuquerque authorities is also important. Helpful information on reporting an aggressive dog can be found on the city of Albuquerque’s website. Reporting the incident to the proper authorities can also help you discover if the dog had bitten someone before or otherwise displayed aggressive behaviors.
Contact an Albuquerque Dog Bite Lawyer
One of the most important steps, if not the most important, after being bitten by a dog will be to contact an experienced Albuquerque dog bite lawyer. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to help explore your options. Your attorney may also be able to help you accurately value your case and determine your best course of action moving forward.
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Determining liability is a critical component of every personal injury case. When a party is “liable” for damages, they are responsible for paying for any of the injuries and financial implications thereof for the injured party.
Generally, this will require proving that the party you are looking to recover damages from had a duty to act a certain way and failed to live up to this standard. In a dog bite case in Albuquerque, the critical term to know is the “one bite rule.” New Mexico is what is known as a “one bite” state.
This means that, when it comes to dog bites, an owner can only be held liable if they had reason to know that their dog had a propensity for acting aggressively. In essence, a dog owner gets “one bite” before punishment. The first bite puts them on notice that their dog is prone to biting, and the second bite can result in their liability for the injuries that their dog causes.
Filing a Dog Bite Claim
Filing a dog bite claim could be the best, and sometimes only, way to get fair compensation for your injuries. The first and most important step in this process is to seek the guidance of an experienced Albuquerque dog bite attorney. They may be able to handle the dog bite lawsuit while keeping you up to date on all of the vital developments in your case.
Contact an Attorney
You should contact an Albuquerque personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after an accident, especially if you or your loved one’s injuries were severe. An attorney may offer advice as to whether you should pursue a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. Your attorney may also help preserve crucial evidence and gather documentation to support your claim.
Investigating the details of your case is the next step in filing a claim and seeking compensation. Before your attorney is able to give you any sort of guidance as to what your case might be worth or advice on how to move forward, they will need to conduct a thorough investigation.
This investigation will likely include interviewing or deposing any witnesses, looking into the history of the dog owner, and analyzing medical records.
Negotiation and Settlement
Most dog bites in Albuquerque will end in a settlement. Going to trial takes a lot of time and preparation, and the parties can typically reach an agreement before going in front of a judge in a trial to resolve things.
At this stage, it is critical to have a qualified lawyer on your side who may be able to harness their experience and training to negotiate persuasively for maximum compensation from the other parties involved.
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Dog Bite Compensation
For most dog bite victims, one of their main questions is, “What is the value of my personal injury claim?” This question is impossible to answer without addressing the specific details that make your claim unique, but any compensation you may receive will come from three main categories.
Economic damages are the damages you incur that can be proven and tied to actual, measurable losses. They include costs like medical bills, costs to replace any property that may have been damaged, and lost wages from being unable to work due to your injury.
Non-economic damages are not able to be tied to an objective, measurable number like economic damages. Instead, they include losses like the pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injuries. Though they may be more difficult to attach a number to, non-economic damages will generally be greater the worse your injuries are.
Punitive damages are only available in a small number of dog bite cases. For these damages to apply, the dog owner must have been grossly negligent or acted with the intention of causing harm. The most common cases where punitive damages are awarded after a dog bite are situations where the dog owner encourages the dog to attack.
Legal Time Limits
Every personal injury claim has an associated statute of limitations, which is the legal term for how long you have to file a claim based on a given incident. In New Mexico, the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim is three years, meaning you have three years from the date of your dog bite to file a lawsuit.
There may be exceptions to this rule that an Albuquerque dog bite lawyer can explain. Still, it is generally advisable to file your claim as soon as possible to avoid any problems.
Contact an Albuquerque Dog Bite Attorney
Zinda Law Group has the resources of a large firm combined with the individualized attention of a boutique operation. We believe dog bite victims shouldn’t need to worry about being able to afford legal representation, which is why we offer a no-win, no-fee policy. This means that you don’t pay us anything until we win your case.
If you or a loved one has suffered from the effects of a dog bite, contact our firm for a free consultation from an experienced dog bite injury lawyer in Albuquerque today. Meetings with attorneys are by appointment only.
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), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO