Many people cherish outdoor activities with their dogs, taking advantage of picturesque landscapes, pet-friendly businesses, and off-leash parks. However, the unpredictable behavior of animals can lead to incidents such as dog bites, turning a pleasant moment into a distressing and painful experience. At Daly & Black, P.C., we fully grasp the serious impact a dog attack can have on your life, including its effects on your family and possibly your work. Our team of Lake Charles Dog Bite Lawyers, along with our Lake Charles personal injury experts, is dedicated to ensuring you receive the justice and compensation you need, understanding the profound changes such an incident can cause in your life.
Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite cases require the acumen of experienced legal professionals to accurately determine liability. In most jurisdictions, the laws pertaining to dog bite incidents are categorized under either “negligence” or “strict liability.” Under strict liability rules, a dog owner may be held liable for any serious injury or death caused by their dog, irrespective of whether they were aware of the dog’s aggressive nature. To apply this liability, it is essential that the injured party was lawfully in a public place or on private property at the time of the attack. Engaging a Lake Charles dog bite personal injury expert is crucial to ensure that, even without the owner’s prior knowledge of the dog’s potential aggression, they are held accountable for their pet’s behavior.
“Serious bodily injury” includes any injury that causes:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Second or third degree burns
- A substantial risk of loss or impairment of the function of any part of the body, including organs
- A substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement
- A substantial risk of death
Strict liability law only applies for injuries caused solely by a dog bite. If a dog causes injury by some other means, such as knocking someone down, the injured person can seek compensation via a negligence-based claim.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog attacks are a major concern in the United States, accounting for approximately $2 billion in damages every year. Alarmingly, 61 percent of these incidents take place in or around the dog owner’s home or neighborhood.
Sadly, individuals of all ages can fall victim to dog attacks, but children are particularly vulnerable. Dog bites account for more emergency room visits for children than any other form of injury. Often, these severe incidents lead to head and face injuries in children. These traumatic experiences can cause enduring physical and emotional scars, significantly affecting a child’s life and self-confidence. As Lake Charles Dog Bite Lawyers, we are committed to supporting and representing those affected by such distressing events, ensuring they receive the necessary care and compensation.
Generally speaking, the most common injuries from dog bites include:
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Crush injuries
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What Types of Compensation Can I Seek in a Dog Bite Case?
Beginning with a consultation at our office, or in your hospital room, our Lake Charles dog bite lawyers will evaluate your case and support you during this difficult time while pursuing compensation on your behalf for:
These costs encompass not just the immediate expenses of emergency medical care and possible prolonged hospitalization, but also extend to ongoing and future needs. These can include continuous physical therapy, long-term care, and medications to manage both physical and psychological pain stemming from the incident.
Lost wages, employment and earning potential
This includes the loss of a current job or contract, time off work or an inability to adequately perform tasks in the future.
Pain and suffering
You are entitled to compensation for the pain you are presently experiencing. However, you also have a right to seek compensation for the suffering you initially endured as well as future discomfort and difficulty.
Some injuries require assistance beyond the walls of the hospital. Home nursing care, as well as necessary assistive equipment is included in these damages.
Loss of consortium
This particular form of suffering includes the emotionally painful loss of love, companionship, affection and household services.
IIn particularly severe instances where it is established that a dog owner intentionally incited their dog to attack, the victim may be entitled to compensation that goes beyond typical damages. This kind of recompense is considered when the attack is the result of a deliberate and malicious act, serving both as a punitive measure and a deterrent against such egregious behavior in the future.
What to Do If You’ve Been Attacked By a Dog?
Identify the dog, its owner and the potential insurer.
Immediately determine who owns or had custody of the dog when it attacked you. Identify the liability insurance company providing potential coverage. In some cases, your own insurance company may provide coverage for your wounds.
Seek medical care.
Depending on the severity of your injury, call first responders to the scene or arrange to be taken to the emergency room. Even if your injury seems minor, an untreated wound can lead to serious infection or rabies, and possibly lead to amputation.
Obtain contact information from any witnesses. Document the dog’s license information and ask about the dog’s history. Has the dog injured anyone in the past or been legally designated as “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous”? Photograph your injuries, including lacerations, bruises any torn, bloody clothing. It’s also a good idea to photograph the location of the attack.
File a dog bite report.
Once you’ve been medically treated for your injury, file a dog bite report with the city or county, even if the injury was minor. This will legally document your case and leave a useful paper trail for the next potential victim of the same dog.
Call our Lake Charles dog bite lawyers right away. The legal issues surrounding your case are complex and difficult to navigate alone. Your dog bite attorney can best look out for your best interests from this point forward.
Start a journal.
Dog bite claims can take time to resolve. Begin a journal to document your experiences following the attack. Spend a little time each day recording your thoughts and challenges.
In the aftermath of a dog attack, it is essential to meticulously collect and safeguard evidence that might be crucial for your case. This includes taking photos of the location, noting down contact information of any witnesses, and gathering any other pertinent details. Also, it’s important to preserve the clothing you were wearing during the incident. Ensure to keep any bloodstains or dirt untouched; instead of washing these garments, store them in a plastic bag or a suitably sized container to keep them as they are for evidential purposes. Such careful preservation of evidence can play a vital role in strengthening your case. As your Lake Charles Dog Bite Lawyers, we emphasize the importance of these details in building a robust legal claim.
If the owner of the dog is insured, you might get a call from an insurance company representative. If that happens, ask the insurer for information including:
- The name, address and phone number of the insurance company
- The claim number
- The name of the person insured
While some things are appropriate to discuss with the insurance representative, there are some things you do not want to do:
- Do not allow your conversation to be recorded
- Do not accept any offers
- Do not discuss who is responsible
- Do not write a memo or letter
- Do not schedule an appointment
- Do not discuss injury value, payment terms, settlement or anything involving money
If your insurance company isn’t being fair to you after you go through a devastating accident like this one, contacting a first-party insurance lawyer can help too.
Dog Bite Lawsuit Statute of Limitations
Every state in the United States, including Louisiana, has a statute of limitations that dictates the time frame within which a personal injury lawsuit, like a dog bite case, must be filed. This period varies by state but generally allows a set number of years from the date of the injury to initiate legal proceedings. Failing to file a lawsuit within this specified time frame could result in the court refusing to hear the case. To avoid losing the right to seek court-ordered compensation for your injuries, it is vital to promptly contact our Lake Charles Dog Bite Lawyers. Our team will help you promptly start building your case, ensuring adherence to these critical legal deadlines.