Dog bite injuries are common and may require the help of a personal injury attorney. Americans love their dogs but they are also the cause of millions of bites to humans every year in the United States. Although most bites aren’t serious, many still lead to time off of work, medical bills and other suffering. If you are a parent you should know that children, especially boys, receive nearly 50% of all dog bites.
If you or a loved one are the victim of a dog bite, you should know your rights. You may be eligible to collect damages for the injury. All states have laws making dog owners responsible for dog bites under certain circumstances, although some follow the “one free bite” rule which means that an owner isn’t legally responsible for injury unless they had reason to believe their dog was vicious. Others have “dog-bite statutes” that make an owner liable no matter the history or what they knew about their dog’s personality. You may also have a legal case if you can prove that the injury occurred because the dog owner was negligent in controlling the dog, perhaps due to a broken fence or being off leash.
Dog Owners can help Prevent Dog Bites
Follow these guidelines:
- Train and socialize your dog.
- Never let a dog run at large.
- Watch your dog around children.
- Keep your dog’s vaccinations current and records on file.
- Keep the dog out of strangers’ paths either in your house or in a fenced back yard.
- Post warning signs such as “Dog in Yard”.
If you are attacked by a dog or witness a person being attacked by a dog, you are entitled to defend yourself. The laws of almost of every state allow a person to take all action necessary, including killing, to stop a dog when attacking a person. Be aware that dogs rarely engage in a lengthy attack against a human; typically biting once out of fear, nervousness or protectiveness. Any dog can hurt someone; the majority of dog bites are caused by a friend or family member’s “friendly dog”. Understand that even a small, old or gentle dog can injure someone accidentally by frightening or tripping the victim.
Steps to Take After Being Attacked
- Collect the names, phone numbers and addresses of the dog’s owner(s) and any witnesses.
- Seek all appropriate medical attention and keep records of doctor’s office or hospital visit and bills.
- Report the incident to animal control authorities, especially if the dog wasn’t wearing a tag and you don’t know who owns the dog. Many cities and states require home or pound quarantine of dogs for 7-20 days after an attack to make sure the dog isn’t rabid.
- Check with local animal control department records for prior attacks by the dog. This could help you settle with the owner or win damages in a court case.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!