Dogs are often considered a member of the family and are loved and cherished by many. However, sometimes, even well-behaved dogs can bite people, causing serious injuries.
In New York alone, there were over 800 dog bite claims in recent years, leading to settlements worth nearly $49.1 million.
Victims of dog bites should know their legal rights and how they can receive compensation for their injuries from the dog’s owner.
It’s equally important for dog owners to understand how to protect their dog from situations that may lead to biting, as well as how to respond and take responsibility if their dog does bite someone.
This short article explores what to do if your dog bites someone, including the process the victim needs to follow legally and the owner’s responsibilities and options.
Legal responsibilities of the victim
If you’re bitten by a dog, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. You may require stitches, antibiotics, and other treatments to prevent infections.
Make sure you identify the dog and its owner to ensure that the animal is up to date on its vaccinations.
In New York for example, dog bite laws hold dog owners strictly liable for any injury caused by their dog, regardless of whether the dog has a history of being aggressive. The victim can file a personal injury claim against the dog owner for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering .
The claim under New York’s statute of limitations must be filed within three years from the injury date.
If your dog has bitten someone, you’re responsible for the injuries caused by the animal. You need to take the following steps:
1. Secure the dog: If the dog is loose, secure it as soon as possible. Put it in a crate, a separate room, or outside in a securely fenced area to prevent further incidents.
2. Offer help: Offer assistance to the victim, such as calling 911 or taking them to the hospital. Provide your contact information and any information about your dog’s vaccination history.
3. Report the bite: Report the bite to your local animal control agency or police department. This is required by law, and failure to do so can result in fines and other penalties.
4. Cooperate with investigations: Cooperate with any investigations by animal control or law enforcement agencies. This may include quarantine of your dog to ensure that it’s not infected with rabies.
What’s the job of a dog bite attorney?
If you’re a victim of a dog bite, having an experienced dog bite attorney on your side can be beneficial.
They can help you build a compelling case against the dog owner and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
On the flip side, owners can also be provided with vital advice to help them understand the process and how to protect their pup from prosecution.
Helping the victim build their case:
A dog bite attorney can help victims gather evidence, establish negligence, understand their legal rights, negotiate settlements, and prepare their case for trial. Their expertise can be invaluable in securing compensation for the victim’s injuries.
1. Prove the dog’s owner knew the dog was dangerous: An attorney can help victims build a strong case against owners by finding witnesses who saw the dog behaving dangerously or aggressively before the attack. They can also gather evidence that the dog’s owner knew the dog was dangerous.
2. Demonstrate that the owner failed to take precautions: A dog bite attorney can help the victim prove that the dog owner failed to take necessary precautions to prevent the attack. The attorney can look into the dog’s ownership history and determine if the owner took steps to train and socialize the dog properly.
3. Collect evidence of previous attacks by the same dog: To build a successful personal injury case, you may need proof of previous attacks by the same dog. A dog bite attorney can help you do this by collecting copies of police reports related to any incidents involving this particular dog and its owner.
4. Understanding and applying state and local laws: Dog bite attorneys well-versed in state and local laws can help victims understand their rights and the best action to take.
5. Settlement negotiation and trial preparation: Experienced attorneys will fight for your rights in settlement negotiations and prepare your case for trial if necessary.
Having an experienced dog bite attorney on their side can provide victims with a sense of relief, knowing that they have someone who will fight for their rights and help them navigate the legal process to receive the compensation they deserve.
Helping the owner
A dog bite attorney can help the dog owner navigate the legal process and defend their rights in the event that their dog bites someone.
For example, if a dog owner is facing legal action due to a dog bite incident, their attorney may take several steps to demonstrate that the dog is not violent and will not bite again. These steps may include:
1. Gathering evidence: This may involve investigating the circumstances surrounding the bite, such as the dog’s behavior leading up to the incident, any provocation by the victim, and any potential contributing factors like poor training or medical conditions.
2. Obtaining expert testimony: Animal behavior experts, veterinarians, or other professionals may be consulted to assess the dog’s temperament and behavior and provide testimony as to the likelihood of future biting incidents.
3. Providing documentation: Documentation of the dog’s training, vaccinations, and medical history may be provided to demonstrate responsible pet ownership and a commitment to ensuring the dog’s well-being.
4. Negotiating with the victim: If appropriate, a settlement may be negotiated with the victim that does not require the dog to be labeled as dangerous or undergo additional restrictions.
By taking these steps, the attorney can demonstrate that the dog is not a threat to society and should be allowed to continue living with its owner without additional restrictions, thus avoiding financial damage for the owner.
What are the potential outcomes of a dog bite case?
The outcomes of a dog bite case can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the incident, its severity and the parties involved. Here are a few possible outcomes:
1. Compensation for the victim: If the dog owner is found liable for the bite, they may be required to compensate the victim for any damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
2. Criminal charges: If laws related to dog ownership or animal control are violated, the owner can face criminal charges and potential fines or even jail time.
3. Euthanasia of the dog: In some severe cases, a dog that has bitten someone may be deemed a danger to society and may be euthanized as a result.
4. Increased awareness and education: Dog bite cases can raise awareness about responsible pet ownership and the potential consequences of failing to properly train or control a dog, leading to increased education and resources for owners and the community.
5. No liability: This can occur if the owner can prove that the victim provoked the dog, trespassed on their property, or was otherwise at fault for the bite. Avoiding financial damage and preventing the dog from being labeled as dangerous would allow the owner to keep their dog without any restrictions.
Dog bite trauma: Protect and prevent victims, owners and dogs
Dog bites can have a traumatic and lasting impact on victims, as well as the dog owners and the dogs themselves. Victims may experience physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burden due to medical bills and lost wages.
Dog owners may face legal and financial repercussions, and their dogs may be taken away or even euthanized. To prevent such incidents, it’s essential for owners to properly train and socialize their dogs, keep them on a leash, and provide adequate supervision.
In the event of a bite, seeking legal guidance and taking the necessary steps to ensure proper care for the victim and the dog can help mitigate the damages and prevent future incidents.
We hope you found this article informative and would love to hear your thoughts on this sensitive matter. If you enjoyed this article, take a look at related stories:
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