Most dog owners monitor their pets and make the interior or exterior of the home safe for visitors. When owners take their dog outside the home, it’s their responsibility to ensure that the animal behaves in a proper manner so that no one is bitten. At times, a dog can become anxious or isn’t trained in the right way and can bite someone else. There are instances when a dog plays and bites someone, but there are times when a dog bite is intentional on the animal’s part. These bites can result in severe injuries and emotional trauma for the person who is bitten.
Before you seek the assistance of an attorney, you need to understand some of the details about various types of dog bites. A playful bite is one that occurs when the dog is trying to jump around and play and likely thinks that you’re playing as well. This kind of bite often happens without the dog thinking that it’s biting and sometimes isn’t aware of what happens at the time. Another type of bite is one that occurs when the dog is defending its property or protecting its owner. If you have your dog outside of the house and in the general public and your dog bites someone else, then you can be held liable for that incident. At times, your dog might become defensive if it feels that it’s threatened or if it feels that you are in danger. If you are in danger while outside of the home and can prove that the dog acted in defense, then an attorney can usually get any charges dropped and prevent you from paying fines or compensation. When you’re inside your home and someone tries to break into the house, then a dog bite usually doesn’t stand up in a court because the dog is defending its property and because someone else was entering the property without permission.
There are two sides to each dog bite. One side is the victim, and the other side is the pet owner. The victim would need to file charges and take the owner to court to get any kind of compensation for medical bills, treatments and pain, and suffering that the attorney can claim. If the dog owner does not think that the bite was intentional or that the dog was acting in defense, then the attorney can try to get any charges dismissed.
If you are a victim of a dog bite, you need to save all medical bills that you receive and copies of any kind of treatment that you need, such as rabies treatments or a tetanus shot. You also need to provide any witness statements to the attorney to provide some kind of proof as to what happened when the bite occurred. One of the things that you can do is file an insurance claim with the owner’s insurance company. Some breeds of dogs are not insured by some companies, so you need to check this information before filing the claim. However, you could file it as a personal injury instead of a dog bite if the breed is not covered. An attorney can offer assistance when dealing with an insurance company so that you receive the compensation that you deserve and so that the proper type of claim is filed.
Another option that you have is filing a personal claim against the dog owner. This usually involves a civil suit where you would go to court and produce evidence as to what happened when the dog bit you. It’s best to have an attorney present who understands dog bite laws and knows how to file all of the claims that will net you the most money for medical bills, emotional suffering and any other kind of compensation that you could receive.
Each state has its own laws for dog bites. If the dog owner knows that the animal has the potential to bite someone or has bitten someone in the past, then you have a better claim than you would if the owner did not know the dog’s temperament. There are some states that will allow you to file a claim against an owner regardless of the precautions that the owner took to keep the dog from biting. However, you have to show that you were legally on the property at the time. If you were trespassing or were not supposed to be on the property, then this kind of claim might not hold up in court.
There are a few defenses that the dog owner can use against you in court. One is trespassing. If signs were in the yard, then this could be a valid claim. Another common defense is provocation. This would mean that you would have had to be taunting the dog in some way for the dog to bite you. An attorney can work with you to negate these defenses if you have evidence to support your actions. Compensation can often include money for lost wages, emotional scarring, and medical bills.