Dogs are a man’s closest companion, as the saying goes. But what happens if a dog does attack, and someone sustains injury? Is the owner liable for their medical expenses? What if someone provoked the animal in the first place? Or perhaps the owner was aware of their animal’s proclivity for aggression and failed to protect others from harm. Whatever the case may be, if the injuries were serious, then it could warrant suing the owner for damages. As our friends at Cohen & Cohen agree with, when canine companions attack and cause injury, it can quickly turn into a tension-filled situation. Here is what you need to know about handling the aftermath of a dog bite incident.
If the dog bite did not leave much of an injury behind, then the victim probably doesn't have much of a case for a lawsuit. In order to have grounds to sue the dog owner, a person must have faced physical injury and/or financial loss as a direct result of the incident. So let’s say that your friend’s dog had bitten you, but it didn’t break the skin barrier and it was minor enough to be healed with what a first aid kit offers. Then it can be reasonably assumed that no legal action should be taken. However, if injuries were severe and required medical treatment that was expensive, then pursuing compensation from the owner makes sense.
Dogs may act aggressively either when provoked, or not provoked. If the dog was being cornered or felt threatened by behavior that was supposed to intentionally aggravate the animal, then suing the owner for damages may not be fair. Before considering filing a lawsuit against the owner, think about whether the dog’s reaction was appropriate based on how you were acting. Lawsuit cases can weaken if it is proven that the person injured had contributed to the injury they sustained. But ultimately, dog owners must take precautions to keep the public from injury if their animal is uncomfortable around other people or animals. If you were in a situation where a dog owner failed to keep you safe and you were bitten because of it, that can justify a lawsuit.
Before filing a lawsuit against a dog owner, it’s recommended that you consult with a lawyer for a case evaluation. Your personal injury lawyer can assess the situation and let you know if there are monetary damages that you are eligible to collect from the owner. For instance, if the dog bite was serious enough to require stitches, surgery, or another costly treatment, then understandably you would want to seek repayment from the owner responsible. During your consultation, bring with you as much information as you have available, such as photographs of your injuries, the dog owner’s contact information, picture of the animal, medical documents from your doctor describing injuries and treatment, and anything else relevant. The more you have for your lawyer to review the better they can assist you.
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