Enjoying the great outdoors with dogs is a cherished activity, and many people relish the opportunity to explore nature, visit dog-friendly businesses, and enjoy off-leash parks with their furry friends. These settings provide excellent chances for bonding with our canine companions. However, dogs can sometimes exhibit unexpected behavior, and suffering a dog bite can be a traumatic and painful experience. At Daly & Black, P.C., our New Orleans Dog Bite Lawyers understand the serious impact a severe dog attack can have on your life, including its effects on your family and your ability to work. Our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers is committed to working tirelessly to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you are entitled to, recognizing the significant repercussions of such an incident on your overall well-being.
Dog Bite Laws
Dog bite cases are complex and require expert legal counsel to successfully prove liability. Most states use either a “negligence” or “strict liability” which holds the dog’s owner liable if a dog bite results in serious bodily injury or death. In order for a strict liability to apply, the bite victim must be lawfully on private property or on public property. This liability is applied even if the owner didn’t know or could not have known that the dog would act aggressively.
“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 represent a significant issue in the United States, with estimated damages reaching around $2 billion each year. A notable statistic is that approximately 61 percent of these attacks occur either in the home of the dog owner or within the immediate vicinity of the neighborhood.
Tragically, people of all ages can fall victim to dog attacks, but children are disproportionately affected. In fact, dog bite incidents are the leading cause of emergency room visits among children, surpassing other types of injuries. The most severe cases often involve injuries to the head and face, which can have lasting effects on a child’s life, impacting their self-esteem and self-confidence. As New Orleans Dog Bite Lawyers at Daly & Black, P.C., we are acutely aware of the severity of these attacks and the profound impact they can have, especially on young victims. Our team is dedicated to addressing the legal aspects of these incidents with the seriousness and empathy they demand.
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 dog bite lawyers will evaluate your case and support you during this difficult time while pursuing compensation on your behalf for:
The expenses incurred from such incidents can encompass immediate emergency care and prolonged hospital stays, as well as ongoing and future physical therapy. Additionally, they often include the costs for continuous care and medications needed to address both physical and psychological pain.
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.
In severe instances where it is established that a dog owner intentionally commanded their dog to attack you, you may be entitled to compensation that exceeds the usual damages. This additional compensation is aimed at penalizing the deliberate actions of the owner responsible for the attack.
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.
Based on the gravity of your injury, it’s crucial to either call first responders to the scene or get yourself transported to the emergency room. It’s important to remember that even seemingly minor injuries require attention, as untreated wounds carry the risk of severe infection or rabies, which in extreme cases, could result in amputation.
Gather contact details from any witnesses present. Inquire and record the dog’s license details and ask about its behavioral history, including whether it has previously injured anyone or been legally classified as “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous.” Make sure to take photographs of your injuries, such as cuts, bruises, and any clothing that is torn or blood-stained. Additionally, capturing images of the attack site can be beneficial for documentation purposes.
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.
Reach out to our New Orleans dog bite lawyers promptly. The legal intricacies associated with your case are complex and challenging to handle on your own. An experienced dog bite attorney from our team will be dedicated to safeguarding your best interests moving 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.
Ensure the safekeeping of all photographic evidence, witness contact details, and any other relevant information that could support your case. It’s crucial to retain the clothing you were wearing during the attack, including any stains from blood or dirt. Refrain from washing these clothes; instead, store them in a suitably sized plastic bag or container for preservation.
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
In the United States, the statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits, such as those arising from dog bite incidents, varies from state to state. This statute establishes a deadline, often a few years from the date of the injury, by which a lawsuit must be filed. Missing this deadline could render your case ineligible for consideration in court. Therefore, understanding and adhering to these state-specific time limits is crucial to maintain your right to seek compensation through legal action. It’s essential to contact our New Orleans Dog Bite Lawyers promptly to ensure that your case is prepared and filed in a timely and effective manner, safeguarding your ability to pursue justice and compensation for your injury.