Dog bites are potentially dangerous incidents that could result in pain and illness. Luckily, however, those victimized in such events might be entitled to compensation through a civil action known as a lawsuit.
Dog Bite Overview
Statistics compiled by the federal government agency known as the Centers For Disease Control, sometimes simply abbreviated as the CDC, claim that 4.5 million dog bites occur each year and approximately 20 percent of these wounds become infected.
Serious dog bites are often not only painful but could lead to several complications, many of which are deep penetrating flesh wounds that could damage muscles, ligaments, bones, or nerves, and lead to permanent scarring. Moreover, said events could elicit several potentially dangerous or even fatal illnesses, like rabies, tetanus, and a wide range of bacterial infections.
Actions to Execute Following a Dog Bite
Individuals bitten by dogs are firmly encouraged to take the following pertinent actions:
Document the Incident
Bite victims not necessitating emergency medical attention should carefully document the incident in question. Said individuals are urged to notate an accurate and thorough account of the events leading up to and during the attack. Furthermore, subjects should capture photos of their wounds, the dog, and any other credible evidence.
If the dog was in the presence of its owner or some other individual, bite victims should take the contact information of said subjects and any possible eyewitnesses. Additionally, inquiries should be made regarding the animal in question’s health and vaccination history.
When such incidents are perpetrated by unaccompanied dogs, law enforcement should be informed immediately. Said officials can author accident reports the bite victim can use for insurance of civil litigation purposes. Moreover, responding agencies might be able to apprehend the offending canine and transport the animal to a veterinary clinic or shelter. Said professionals employed at such establishments can then carefully examine the dog and determine if they possess any illnesses that might threaten the bite victim’s health.
Seek Prompt Medical Attention
Even the most minor dog bites possess the capacity to become health-threatening events. Therefore, all wounds should receive a prompt and thorough medical evaluation. Additionally, accurate medical reports often prove critical to success in any civil action. Bite victims must demonstrate to an adjudicating body that the wounds caused the injuries they claim to have incurred and the compensation sought is directly attributable to those injuries.
Consult with an Attorney
Those who sustained significant or debilitating injury might be entitled to compensation. An experienced dog bite attorney can look over the evidence and advise the prospective client if they possess a viable claim.
Can a Dog Owner Be Held Accountable?
Laws may differ from place to place. However, dog owners can be held legally accountable if their pets bite someone under the following circumstances:
The Demonstration of Threatening Behavior
If the animal in question demonstrates any threatening or aggressive behavior, such as snarling or growling prior to the incident.
Warning Is Not Given
Many people like dogs and yearn to confront and pet said creatures. However, if the dog is showing aggressive tendencies or the owner knows the animal is nervous and untrusting, said subject needs to provide adequate warning to any approaching individual.
Negligence Is Displayed
Dog owners have a responsibility to control their dogs. Even friendly dogs can display excessive excitement that manifests in potentially hazardous behavior, like jumping.
When Should a Lawsuit Be Pursued?
The strongest cases are those where the dog’s owner or caretaker can be identified and are believed to have demonstrated any of the aforementioned negligent actions prior to the attack. That said, those facts alone do not necessarily guarantee a prospective plaintiff will be successful in a civil action.
Dog bite cases fall under the purview of personal injury law. Every personal injury proceeding depends upon the complainant’s capacity to demonstrate that the accused party displayed some type of ill actions, said behavior brought about the incident in question, the victim’s injuries are strictly connected to the accident, and the damages said party seeks is strictly related to those injuries.
Additionally, fault is a key issue. Typically, an adjudicating body, such as a judge or jury hears the civil case and determines the percentage of fault each party to the incident bears. In some states, your compensation will be reduced by the specific amount of fault assigned. However, in other states, if the plaintiff was found to bear any responsibility, they collect nothing in damages.