Miller Injury Law firm has experience in passionately representing victims of dog bites and attacks. If you or a loved one have been victimized by a dog or pet, you have rights under the law. We will advocate for you on a contingency basis to ensure all the necessary costs are covered including but not limited to past and future medical expenses. Contact us today for your free consultation and to discuss the merits of your case and review all available insurances.
Although dogs take the place of cherished family pets in our society, due to negligence, mistreatment, or just having bad owners, sometimes they manifest their original feral nature. Of the approximately 5 million dog bites annually in the USA, only 16% of those require medical treatment. Moreover, of those that do get seriously hurt, only a fraction receives proper compensation for the suffered injuries. In short, only 2% of dog bite victims who receive medical attention fulfill their compensation claims.
Most people don’t think to arrange for insurance that covers dog bites, but the homeowner insurance limit of $100k is often enough to cover the potential settlement, depending on the severity of the injuries. If the injuries are serious, umbrella and excess insurance policies will provide up to $1 million coverage.
Knowing your Dog
The best way to avoid a lawsuit is to understand your dog’s behavior: is your dog territorial, how large is it, is it friendly with people, in which circumstances does it become aggressive etc. These are all the questions every dog owner must ask himself in order to keep their pet and other people safe.
If a dog bite occurs, one that doesn’t require any medical attention as is the case with the majority of dog bite incidents, a proper attitude toward the victim is vital if you want to avoid legal escalation. Offer reassurance and kindness, without accepting blame.
In case things do escalate, the best course of action is to relegate the matter to renters or homeowners’ insurance, or if the incident occurred in your business local, turn it to your general commercial insurance carrier.
If you don’t have any insurance that covers dog bites incidents, the matter could escalate to the court system, small claims or higher. If that happens, you should definitely consult a lawyer on how to best prepare your defense. Depending on how much you are willing to spend, either you can pay a lawyer just to give you instructions on the best course of action, which means that you will have to implement that course of action, or you can hire a lawyer to take the matter completely.
Depending on which state you live in, the unfolding of a dog bite case may turn out differently, as it’s always about proving liability. If you are a victim of a dog bite, your goal is to prove that the owner is responsible for the sustained injuries. The law concerning dog bites varies greatly from state to state. For example, California has a strict liability rule, which means that any injury incurred by the dog befalls on the owner, while in Texas they have the “one bite” rule, which dictates that the owner is not at fault if the dog bite incident is the first one to ever be recorded with that particular dog.
Additionally, some states have leash laws, which put a clear liability on the owner in case of a dog bite.
Other matters must also be considered, if the injured party taunted the dog or if a trespassing of the property occurred. In such cases, the owner would not be held liable. Be sure to consult a seasoned lawyer in dog bite incidents to ascertain where you legally stand.