Dog Bites: When To Seek Legal Help

Posted on: 27 March 2024

Dog bites can be devastating events that leave a lasting impact on an individual, both physically and emotionally. But what many don't realize is that dog bites also frequently raise legal questions. In the unfortunate instance of a dog bite incident, understanding your rights and the legal precedents is pivotal. This guide will take you through the variables that come into play and will help you recognize when it's time to seek legal help.

Why Dog Bite Cases Are Unique

Dog bite cases are unique because they fall under a mixture of statutory and common law. Every state has its own set of rules and regulations that a dog owner is subjected to, often with different thresholds for liability. The key factors to consider here are if the dog has a history of aggression, any local ordinances related to restraint, and the nature of the victim's presence on the owner's property. For instance, in some jurisdictions, a dog owner can be held negligent even if it's the dog's first bite; in others, the victim must prove the owner knew of the dog's propensity to bite. These complexities highlight why legal representation should be a priority.

Personal Injury Claims and Compensation

In the event of a dog bite, seeking medical attention is the first and foremost step. After immediate care, the next thought may be about the expenses incurred — medical bills, potential loss of income, and even emotional distress. This is when understanding personal injury claims becomes crucial. A dog bite victim can potentially seek compensation for all damages related to the incident. However, the process involves proving the owner's liability, which can be a daunting task without legal expertise.

Legal Process and Representation

Dog bite cases become legal affairs when an amicable agreement cannot be reached between the dog owner's insurance and the victim. It's important to note that in the majority of cases, it's the homeowner's insurance policies that shoulder the financial burden of compensation for dog bites. However, a legal representative can ensure that you're adequately compensated and can also advise you on your responsibility to mitigate damages.

Determining the Need for an Attorney

Not every dog bite incident requires an attorney, but there are clear situations when legal help is necessary. If the injuries are severe — such as those requiring surgery, resulting in scarring or disfigurement, or causing long-term disability — seeking an attorney is crucial. Additionally, if the dog owner disputes liability or the potential settlement doesn't cover all incurred damages, legal help is highly recommended. 

Contact an accident lawyer for more information.