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As a parent, seeing your child injured in any way is a scary experience, but dog bites are particularly terrifying. Dog bites may cause devastating injuries to young children, so it’s important to take steps to protect your child and your family’s legal right to seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
If your child has suffered an injury from a dog bite, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our dog bite attorneys.
WHAT TO DO IF A DOG BITES YOUR CHILD
Here are some steps you should take if your child is bitten by a dog:
1. Seek Medical Attention
Unless you’re absolutely certain that your child is not injured, you should seek medical attention for your child immediately after they’ve been bitten, either at your local emergency room, or by seeing your physician. Know that leaving a bite untreated may cause infection later on and may have the potential to develop into something much worse. Remember that medical records may help prove that the severity of your child’s injuries were caused by the dog bite, so be sure to keep an organized record of any documented injuries.
2. Obtain the Dog Owner’s Contact Information
It is important to obtain the dog owner’s phone number, address, and insurance information. Even if you don’t know who the dog’s owner is and the owner is nowhere to be found, you may still obtain information from possible eyewitnesses or even from the dog’s license or collar tag, if possible.
Learn More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
3. Report the Dog Bite
Oftentimes, parents hesitate to call the police or local animal control authorities when their child gets bitten by a dog they know. Understandably, parents do not want to sour a relationship with a family member, friend, or neighbor by reporting their dog. However, it’s important for aggressive dogs that bite to be evaluated to determine if they are dangerous to others. If a parent fails to report a bite, the dog could end up biting another child.
4. Call a Dog Bite Attorney
Filing a personal injury claim is often a complex and challenging process. Hiring an experienced dog bite attorney may help you and your family get through this difficult and traumatic time after the dog attack. A dog bite attorney at Zinda Law Group may not only help with gathering your claim documentation, but may also help you establish liability and negotiate fair compensation for your injuries. At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
Usually dogs bite people when they feel threatened. It’s a natural instinct for dogs to try to defend themselves in threatening situations. This is why it’s important for everyone who interacts with dogs to understand what may provoke them. Some of the most common causes of dog bites are:
The Dog is Defending Itself
A dog may bite you in self-defense. A dog may also bite you to defend its territory, a member of its pack, or its food. A mother dog may fiercely protect her puppies as well.
The Dog is Startled
Never startle a dog you don’t know by waking it up or suddenly approaching it from behind. Surprising a dog when it least expects it may provoke a defensive bite.
Playing or Running Away from a Dog
Running away from a dog, even during play, may provoke a bite. The dog that’s chasing you may think it’s part of the fun and nip you too hard. On the other hand, the dog chasing you could turn the chase into a predatory pursuit, causing the dog to bite more aggressively.
The Dog is Scared
A dog that is scared of its environment may bite anyone who approaches it. These kinds of situations are especially prevalent in dogs that have previously been abused or abandoned.
The Dog is Injured or Sick
If a dog is in any kind of pain, it may not want to be approached or handled, even by its favorite people.
Learn More: Dog Bite Prevention
The most common injuries sustained from a dog bite may include:
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Nerve damage
- Emotional effects
There are two ways to determine liability: the one-bite rule, where a dog owner may be liable when they knew or should have known that their dog might bite someone, or strict liability, where the dog owner is responsible regardless of what they knew or should have known.
The one-bite rule means that the first time a dog bites someone, the owner may not be held liable for damages. This rule focuses on the knowledge of the dog owner; this means that to hold an owner liable, the injured person must show the owner knew the dog was aggressive. One way a victim may show this is by proving that the dog has already bitten someone else. Evidence that a dog has acted aggressively towards other animals is not enough to prove knowledge of aggressiveness.
Strict Liability Laws
The typical strict liability dog bite law says that a dog owner is liable if their dog bit someone and:
- The victim was legally allowed to be on the property where they were bitten by the dog; and
- The victim did not provoke the dog.
If a strict liability statute applies, whatever the owner did or did not know prior to their dog biting someone is irrelevant. Some state statutes only apply to bites that occur on public property, and some allow for a dog owner to defend against a claim by stating that they warned the victim.
WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR A DOG BITE
Dog owners are usually the ones who are held liable when their dog bites someone, but there are other parties who may also face liability:
A dog sitter or house sitter may be held liable if they are taking care of another’s dog temporarily. During the time the caretaker is watching the dog, they will typically be considered the dog’s keeper at the time. Whether or not a temporary caretaker may be held liable depends on the circumstances and the court.
Property Owners and Landlords
Landlords who do not have control over their tenants’ dogs are not held liable when the dog bites someone else. However, some states impose liability if the landlord knew that the dog was dangerous but still allowed the animal on their property around others.
Children and Parents
If a child is under 18 and owns or is taking care of a dog, the child’s parents are probably liable when the dog bites someone else. Some states may rule that the parents are harboring the dangerous dog in their home.
FILING A DOG BITE CLAIM
1. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
At Zinda Law Group, our dog bite attorneys may not only help you file the claim, but may also help you prove that the dog owner is liable and reach a fair settlement. An attorney may be able to guide you through the complex and frustrating process of filing a dog bite claim.
2. Gather Evidence
An attorney may also help you collect as much evidence as possible, including: names of witnesses and other parties involved in the accident, medical records and costs of treatment, and any police or animal control incident reports.
CHILD DOG BITE COMPENSATION
Typically, damages for personal injury claims fall under two categories: economic or non-economic damages.
The two main types of economic damages are medical expenses and lost wages. Medical expenses may include:
- Ambulance transportation
- Hospital fees
- Costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Costs for possible future medical treatment
Lost wages represent the time you are off from work due to your injuries from the accident. Lost wages may include:
- Vacation time
- Loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages are losses or injuries that are suffered by an accident victim, but are not defined in monetary terms. Non-economic damages may cover:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Physical disfigurement
- A lowered quality of life
- Mental anguish
Remember that damages are more than medical bills. When a child sustains serious injuries after a dog attack, they may be traumatized by having to undergo painful shots or take medications with bad side effects. A child may also be left with scars to the face or other visible parts of their body. These scars may last a lifetime and may subject the child to problems in social settings. Dog bite scars have the potential to significantly lower a child’s self-esteem or cause long lasting emotional distress.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
The statute of limitations restricts the time period in which an individual may file a lawsuit. Because these laws vary state by state, it’s important to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer who may help you file a lawsuit within the time period.
Most state laws state that a minor, who is under 18 years of age, must file a lawsuit within a certain number of years after their 18th birthday.
CALL ZINDA LAW GROUP’S DOG BITE ATTORNEYS IF YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN BITTEN BY A DOG
At Zinda Law Group, our dog bite attorneys have the experience and knowledge that has helped injured victims seek compensation after suffering an injury from a dog bite.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries after being bitten by a dog, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our dog bite attorneys. You will not pay anything unless we are able to achieve a favorable outcome. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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