Personal Injury Lawyer Delray Beach, FL
Every year in America, it is estimated that 800,000 people suffer from dog bites that require medical attention. The majority of dog bite victims are children resulting in dog bites being the second largest reason for childhood injuries. If you are bitten by a dog, you may have a legal right to recover damages for your injuries. The circumstances surrounding a dog bite incident vary case by case and the statutes regarding dog bites in each state will play a large role in the type of legal case you may have.
The first and most important action after a dog bite is to seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think the bite is that bad, you are at risk for infection and disease. Seeking medical attention will generate a report that can later be used in your claim. You should also take photographs of your injuries. If you end up going to trial after your injuries have healed, photos of the injury and healing process can help a jury understand the seriousness of the incident.
Different states have different laws regarding dog bites. If you are ever bitten by a dog, consulting an attorney is your next step in this process. An attorney will know the local laws and how to best go about proving that the dog owner or other responsible party is liable for your injuries. Some states impose strict liability on dog bites. This means that even if the dog owner did not act negligently, they are still held responsible for their dog actions. Other states have more relaxed dog bite statutes which result in an attorney having to prove liability. Knowledge of the dog being aggressive, previous biting habits, or failure to have the dog properly secured are all facts that are considered when trying to prove negligence of a dog owner.
A dog owner does have the right to defend themselves and their dog when they are accused of negligence after a dog bite incident. “Beware of dog” signs or keeping a dog in a fenced in yard are two ways that a dog owner can fend off claims of negligence. If a person pursues a dog after being warned that the dog is potentially dangerous, their behavior can be seen as contributorily negligence. If a person acts threateningly towards a dog, the owner’s liability can sometimes be negated.
If a plaintiff can successfully prove the negligence of a dog owner in a dog bite case, they can be legally entitled to compensation for the damages suffered. Damages like medical bills and lost wages are easy to calculate into a claim. Damages like pain and suffering, loss of quality of life and punitive damages can be more difficult to determine. Depending on the severity of the attack, these damages can vary. If a person is bit and is left with physical disfigurement, damages for pain and suffering are likely to be much higher. Following a dog bite incident, a person can also develop anxiety and fear of dogs that effect their everyday life. In some cases, a jury will also award punitive damages. Punitive damages are usually only awarded if it can be proven that the dog owner engaged in reckless or intentional behavior.
Dog bite cases can vary in circumstances and be heavily affected by local laws. If you are ever the victim of a dog bite it is essential that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer Delray Beach, FL relies on at The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. about the damages you may be entitled to recover as a result of your injury.