Dog Bite Settlement Lawyers Nationwide
Compensation for Dog Bite Victims
A dog bite claim can help victims injured by aggressive dogs and their negligent owners secure compensation for injuries sustained, medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional damage, lost wages, and more.
When you step out of your home and into the community, you are inherently entitled to a certain degree of safety. When that safety is compromised because of someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to bear that burden on your own.
Our dog bite personal injury lawyers draw on our experience successfully representing dog bite and animal attack victims since 1984. We understand the ways careless and distracted dog owners threaten the safety of their neighbors, visitors, and the public. We hold negligent owners accountable for the harm their dogs inflict on others while pursuing the fullest financial recovery for our clients.
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Dog Bite Injury Attorneys
Even "Minor" Bites Can Have Major Consequences
Dog bites often cause scarring even if a bite is considered minor. In many cases, animal bite wounds are not stitched when treated due to the increased risk of infection, often leading to more serious scarring and disfigurement.
Dog bites become more severe when they penetrate through a person’s skin into the muscles or bones, or when one bite turns into, two, three, four, or more bites, essentially becoming a full-out dog attack.
Additionally, when dogs are in groups or packs, they can join in biting or attacking a person. Such incidents typically do not happen with an average family dog, but some dog owners train dogs to attack in groups, something that is unfortunately still rampant throughout the United States. Regardless of what causes an unprovoked dog bite or attack, the damage can be catastrophic and life-threatening.
Dog Bite Lawsuit Attorneys Nationwide
Why You Should Pursue Your Dog Bite Claim
Dog bite injuries not only cause substantial physical injury and emotional harm, but they are also expensive. According to dogsbite.org, the average cost per dog bite claim nationally rose more than 103 percent from 2003 to 2018. The reason for such an increase in the cost of dog bite claims is the increase in medical costs, as well as amounts recovered as part of a settlement, judgment, or winning verdict at trial. Additionally, in 2018, almost 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery because of dog bites.
Emergency room and hospital care are extraordinarily expensive, and in a recent report, the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital visit was approximately $18,000, which is approximately 50% more than the average injury-related hospital visit. Additionally, there were four times the number of dog bite-related emergency room visits and three times the number of hospital stays in rural areas than in urban areas.
A dog bite happens every 75 seconds in the United States, demonstrating that far too many people are sustaining severe and debilitating injuries that are likely preventable. Because of the significant damage that can be caused by dog bites, it is not surprising that victims of dog bites sustain damages that exceed $1 billion each year in the form of medical expenses and lost wages. However, because not all dog bites are reported, this number may be significantly higher.
In addition to the physical damage caused by a dog bite injury, a victim may sustain severe emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Such a condition may make it difficult for the victim to ever be around a dog again, and the person may become panicked every time they see a dog in the future.
The substantial medical expenses and lost wages are additional damages that harm not only the victim but also the victim’s family and the workforce. If victims must be out of work to recover from dog bite injuries, businesses may feel the consequences of being short-handed.
Dog Bite Laws
Overall, dog bite injuries can have far-reaching consequences that can spiral out of control. While dog bite laws exist, they differ by city, county, and state, and not all dog bite laws are enforced.
Some communities or businesses ban specific breeds, such as pit bull mixes, that are deemed dangerous. However, such a ban on certain breeds does not do anything to stop the dog bite injuries that are caused by breeds with better reputations, such as Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.
As such, the legal system allows dog bite victims to pursue lawsuits against dog owners and other parties responsible for their dog’s conduct.
Proving Dog Owner Negligence
Generally, depending on the state (or even the city or municipality in which a dog bite occurred), the ability for a dog bite victim to pursue damages against the dog’s owner turns on how much the owner knew about the dog. For example, many states require that the owner knew or had reason to know that the dog was vicious or otherwise violent when the attack occurred. Whether a plaintiff must prove actual or constructive knowledge (knew or should have known) of the dog’s violent tendencies is dependent on the applicable state’s laws. For example, a dog that bit someone before will likely do so again, and if the owner does not take the appropriate steps to protect the public from the animal, they can be held accountable. Additionally, many cities have ordinances concerning leash laws as well as obligations to restrain their pets on and/or off their own property.
Prevelence of Dog Bites
Dogs can be amazing companions that provide love, attention, and protection as a member of the family. However, dogs can also be very dangerous, even if they have never bitten a person or other animal before. Anything can trigger even the best-behaved dog to react unpredictably. As such, dog owners have a responsibility to take precautions to ensure their dogs do not bite or attack another person or animal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a stunning 4.5 million people sustain dog bites each year, with more than 800,000 dog bites requiring medical intervention to treat infections.