Every 40 seconds, someone in the US requires medical attention for a dog bite-related injury. Dog bites have become more frequent than expected and often violent in nature. The key issue in a dog bite case is the extent to which the jurisdiction follows the old English “one bite rule.” This ancient law shields a dog owner or harborer from liability, civilly and criminally, until he has a certain degree of knowledge that his dog is dangerous or vicious. When he has this knowledge, however, criminal laws may impose serious consequences on the dog owner or harborers, such as jail time or a fine, animal control laws may impose euthanasia or conditions for retaining the dog, and the civil justice system makes the owner or harborer strictly liable for all losses and damages resulting from the bite.
With incidents on the rise, it is important to not only understand the laws of dog bites but to understand your options if you are ever involved in a case. The best way to go about this is to find the best dog bite attorney that you can for advice and understanding on the issue.
An accident is already a very traumatic event for anybody involved, especially if treatment for a dog bite is required. They can lead to physical, psychological, and emotional damage and this is why people often file lawsuits against the dog’s owner or harborer. In any case, if the matter needs to be settled in court, you will need to find a good dog bite lawyer. Not any lawyer is ok in a case. We recommend that you find a specialized dog bite attorney that understands all of the legal jurisdictions involved in what is called “dog bite law”.
When you face a dog bite lawsuit, whether you’re the man or woman who has experienced an injury or the owner of a canine who has committed the assault you have to look for and consult a dog bite accident lawyer also known as a canine bite injury lawyer. A canine bite complaint really should be taken seriously by all parties and the canine bite liability lies with the owner of the pet dog. In case you own a dog, it can be your responsibility to make sure that it doesn’t bite anyone or even another animal for that matter. This will help you avoid having to meet with a dog bite accident lawyer.
To make life easier from the canine owner’s point of view it really is advisable to take out dog bite insurance for your pet to assist you with the legal side of dealing with a dog bite accident lawyer plus the repercussions of what will happen after your dog has bitten somebody and that person files a dog bite lawsuit.
There are many things to consider if you are ever involved in a dog bite incident. The first thing to establish is whether the incident was bad enough to be taken to court, or if there is any other way to settle the matter. Whether you are the owner or the victim, it is always best to have a talk with every party involved so that perhaps a conclusion can be reached before legal action. In any case, if the matter is to be taken to court, you will need to do some research and find yourself a dog bite lawyer. Using any general lawyer is not recommended.
A specialized dog bite lawyer is an experienced attorney that strictly focuses on dog bite cases and may be the difference between you paying a substantial amount of compensation and even having your pet put down. In some cases, dog bite compensation can be very high. If the attack has caused permanent disfigurement or tissue loss, compensation claims can reach over one million dollars. The average dog bite compensation claim in the United States is $25,000. A dog bite lawyer can represent you on a level that no other attorney would be able to.
The fact that they are completely focused on dog bite cases and their experience in dealing with dog bite matters gives you a much greater chance of winning the case, depending on the circumstances. This excerpt taken from dogbitelaw.com further explains how you may be liable:
Whether or not a state follows the one-bite rule, liability can result from the negligent handling or confinement of a dog, or the violation of a leash law or other animal control law intended to protect against bodily injury to people. Injuries caused by negligence make a dog owner, harborer, or keeper liable in almost every state. Furthermore, recent court decisions have imposed liability on animal control departments and related public entities which failed to take action against dangerous dogs.
Dog Bite Lawyer – How To Avoid Dog Bites
There are steps that you can take as a precautionary to avoid dog bites and having to hire a dog bite lawyer. Firstly, consider staying away from dogs in their own yard when there is no master present. With no master at home, the dog considers themselves to be guarding their territory. If you invade their space they are more than likely willing to defend their turf and attack. Also, think about the most vicious dog breeds and keep you and your children away from these. Reported to be the most dangerous breeds of dogs are pit bull, rottweiler, Akita, and chow.
Another factor in avoiding dog bites is whether they are in a pack or not. When dogs are in groups, they adopt what is called a pack mentality, and each will become uncharacteristically violent to prove themselves within the pack. So two dogs are worse than one and four are worse than three. It is often also reported that dogs that are tied up, chained, or tethered or also even more likely to attack. This is because dogs that are held captive become increasingly frustrated and aggressive.
There is a high chance they will attack anybody within reach. Also to be noted is that male dogs are much more likely to attack than females. Unneutered males are considered to be the most dangerous. The final consideration to be made to avoid dog bites is the environment the dog is placed in. If a dog is put in a new home or suddenly has a new master, this can be dangerous for a period of around two months or until the dog becomes settled. Consider these factors to avoid dog bites and you may never even need to think about hiring a dog lawyer or go through the trauma of being involved in a dog bite incident.
If you are the owner or guardian of a dog and you find yourself in the predicament of being sued or liable for a dog bite, hopefully, you are covered by insurance. Insurance for your dog can cover compensation claims that include costly medical bills, loss of income, psychological or mental damage, and cosmetic surgery bills later on for a victim. In the United States alone, each year one billion dollars worth of dog bite-related insurance is paid out by insurers. It is always a good idea to have at least $100,000 in coverage.
At present, however, the insurance industry is attempting to sell homeowner insurance policies that exclude dog-inflicted injuries. Some insurance companies refuse to sell homeowner insurance to the owners of breeds of dogs that have a reputation for biting, such as pit bulls, Rottweilers, Akitas, and Chows. Other insurers refuse to sell to anyone who owns any dog whatsoever. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal summed up the problem this way:
Some big insurers, including Allstate and Farmers Insurance Group, won’t cover homes in some states if residents own certain breeds. Others exclude some breeds from liability coverage or charge extra for it. The so-called vicious-breed lists include German shepherds, Akitas, and Siberian huskies, along with Alaskan Malamutes, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, American pit bull terriers, and their cousins.
No dog owner should purchase a homeowner policy or renters policy that excludes canine-inflicted injuries unless he or she buys a supplemental policy that covers them.
Even if you do have an insurance policy that covers canine-inflicted injuries, you may still need to appear in court if being sued, although you will have peace of mind that you yourself won’t have to fork out the expenses to compensate the victim.
Dog Bite Lawyer – Protect Your Rights!
In the case that you were bitten by a dog before you hire a dog bite lawyer, it is important to consider taking these steps to protect your rights. Firstly, make sure that you identify the dog. This may be a hard task if the dog is a stray and doesn’t have a master or owner. In an extreme case, you could pursue obtaining and analyzing a DNA sample. If the dog does have an owner or master, make sure that you get all of the details associated with them and their dog, such as names, the address, and if possible the dog license information. Also be sure to obtain the name, address, and contact information of any potential witnesses. This may involve returning to the scene of the incident and knocking on the doors of nearby homes. Make sure that you also take photographs of all of the wounds, bruises, and bloody clothing as these may be used in court. If possible, try to obtain insurance information from the dog owner. There are additional factors to consider when being bitten by a dog and how to ensure you protect your rights, such as:
Get your dog bite lawyer started while the facts are fresh! The facts of your claim have to be proved; the extent of your injuries has to be established. As obvious as the facts and injuries might be to you, they will not be obvious to an insurance assessor sitting at a desk in an office building a few weeks or months after the attack. Furthermore, doctors are more interested in healing you than proving the nature and extent of your injuries to an insurance company, so the proper documentation must be requested from them at the proper times. Your attorney will get the necessary evidence and monitor your medical treatment, so that the insurance assessor will understand exactly what happened, and will give you an adequate sum of money, if possible.
Even “Royal” Dogs Can Bite: Princess Anne’s English Bull Terrier Attacks Queen’s Dog
Whether you are attacked in your own neighborhood or on the grounds of a royal palace, the effects are the same. Injury, trauma, and in some cases can be fatal.
It appears that the Queen may have banned Dotty, Princess Anne’s English Bull Terrier, from the royal residence, Sandringham Castle after attacking the Queen’s beloved Corgi dogs. It would seem that Dotty, the English Bull Terrier, is to sleep outside in a parked car with another of Anne’s pet dogs of the same breed.
Dotty, the English Bull Terrier has a history of attacking and biting people and other dogs. In this particular instance, the English Bull Terrier attacked one of the Queen’s beloved Corgi dogs, Pharos. Although no formal statements were issued from the palace, it was thought that the Queen joined the royal footmen and her daughter as they attempted to separate the dogs during the attack. Pharos was severely injured in the attack and had to be euthanized. The Queen was reported to be devasted by the death of Pharos.
Previously the Queen had given amnesty to the princess’s dogs and permitted them to stay — under harsh orders that they were restricted to Anne’s quarters where servants inclining to the Princess’s wishes would only enter her room in groups and armed. No, doubt this strict ruling of the Queen was brought about because of the attack on one of the maids. Yes, it was the same English Bull Terrier, Florence, who attacked the maid. Appearing before the court and pleading guilty, Princess Anne was convicted under the Dangerous Dogs Act when the same dog attacked two children in Windsor Great Park.
Dotty bit the 12-year-old boy on the collarbone, and on the boy’s left leg. The 7-year-old boy had scratches on his arm, back and leg. Princess Anne was fined and ordered to pay £500 compensation to the children and £148 in court costs. In addition, she was told to get training for Dotty and to keep her on a leash when in public places.
Laws about dog bites differ from country to country, and state to state. If you or someone you know has suffered a dog bite, or if your dog has bitten someone and you have been charged with a criminal offense, you want to find the most experienced personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible. Always ask for a free consultation.
An attorney often gets a humorous reaction when people hear his legal specialty, representing dog-bite victims. But if you hire him to represent you, it’s no laughing matter. “All the humor goes away as soon as you’re sitting on the other side of my desk, ” he said. “When a child is bitten, it’s particularly serious. You’re dealing with a distraught, guilt-ridden parent who’s deeply concerned about a child’s future. When dog bites man, a dog bite lawyer is the man to see. More than 60 percent of his thriving personal injury practice involves dog-bite victims, and his large advertisement in the Yellow Pages displays a snarling Doberman. In fact, he was featured in one of Pacific Bell’s radio commercials. In that series of award-winning ads, he and others with unusual specialties are each interviewed for 30-second spots on how the Yellow Pages has worked for their business. “It’s a good series of ads, ” he said. Whenever you hear a new one, you always listen to see what’s going to happen. There’s always a humorous slant that contributes to their popularity. The attorney himself is popular with the men and women of the U. S. Postal Service. I get a lot of referrals from letter carriers, ” he said. “There’s a post-office grapevine, and the mail carriers seem to find me.” He has represented scores of other deliverymen and meter readers over the years.
After graduating from college, he worked for two years as an investigator for a well-known personal injury attorney. In 1982, he launched his own personal injury practice. Several dog-bite cases came in the door. He hounded the dog owners’ insurance companies and his clients were amply compensated. In 1991, a newspaper profiled the attorney’s legal niche. “I was doing a lot of dog bite (cases) before, but that really put the stamp on me, ” he said. “And I don’t mind it a bit; it’s a good line of work. ” He regularly receives calls from other attorneys handling dog-bite claims who have questions. He diligently spends time with them on the phone, dispensing the advice born from vast experience. In his tort world, 75 percent of the cases are minor, involving a puncture wound or two on an adult’s calf or forearm with low medical bills and little wage loss. The larger cases often involve small children, like a 4-year-old who pets the wrong dog at the wrong time. “And those can be life-changing injuries,” he said. The more serious cases pertain to the face. “A scar on the back of your knee might have a relatively small value, ” he said, “But if you take that same scar and put it on your face, or
the face of your l0-year-old has a lot more value.
Being able to predict future damage is the challenge. ” Representing dog-bite victims, the attorney has found, is somewhat seasonal. That’s because in
the summer, kids are outside – and the dogs are too. Most incidents take place in residential areas, and the majority of the time the victims either know the dog or are visiting the home where the dog lives. Because dog owners are responsible for any damage caused by their dog, almost all cases are settled out-of-court by the defendant’s homeowner’s insurance company. Contrary to his professional reputation, this attorney is not man’s best friend’s worst enemy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He owns two fuzzy little cockapoos, Daisy and Peanut. “There’s a number of things that dogs do, and it’s conduct that’s expected of them, ” he said. “And it’s reasonable that a dog-owner be aware of the natural propensities of an animal. It’s not dogs that are responsible. I love dogs, and I’ve always had them.” His advice to keep you out of his case files: Keep your dog on a short leash – and your child on a shorter one when a dog is near.
An adage holds that when a dog bites a man it isn’t news. But in these litigious times, it is cause for a costly lawsuit. Just ask one dog-bite attorney. Some legal beagles have been known to chase ambulances. This attorney is snapping at the tails of outlaw mastiffs and ill-tempered pooches who harass mail carriers and sink their teeth into scurrying meter readers. When it comes to muzzling yapping terriers and putting vicious collies behind bars, our attorney is the man to call. He may be man’s best friend’s worst enemy. He is that most fearsome breed – a pit bull in pinstripes.
His spacious office gives no scent of his specialty – no leashes, no muffled growls, no stacks of dog-eared law books. “My clients never ask to see my diploma, ” he said. “All they want to know is, ‘What can you do for me?’ Despite his repute in the legal fraternity as the “dog-bite lawyer,” and he
may have this bone all to himself, He in person seems quite restrained, circumspect, and professional. He is 46 years old, with silver hair, a mustache, and a pair of soft brown eyes that could be described as, yes, spaniel-like. He is affable, engaging and, given the nature of his practice – which leaves him subject to some good-natured ribbing by his peers – he has a healthy sense of humor. But his jaw sets on the subject of dog bites.
Since the city is entering the prime dog-bite season – a dangerous time of year that corresponds with toxic pollen flurries and exploding ski boats – he has been running a newspaper ad touting his craft. The promotion is hardly subtle. It features what appears to be a snarling Doberman from hell’s own junkyard. The hound’s bared fangs seem to be caked with soft tissue. McCoy has no ethical qualms about the ad, or any other attorney ad for that matter,
some of which, like those in the Yellow Pages, feature car crashes, crutches, and other calamities of human misfortune, all of which are eminently actionable. “These ads make lawyers more available, ” he said in his defense. “They open the courthouse to the public. ” A bit indignant, he snaps, “All
that lawyer bashing goes out the door when you need a lawyer. No argument there. And if you should get bitten by a raging Pomeranian – and last year in our county, registered were some 1,788 dog bites, quite a mouthful – whom are you going to contact? The dog-bite attorney!
After law school, he worked as an investigator for a prominent attorney who, in the local hierarchy of personal injury litigation, must be considered the top dog. After two years of collecting evidence and helping to construct his employer’s highly publicized, multimillion-dollar cases (none of which involved a house pet), He went out into solo practice. “If you had a problem,” he says, making light of his eagerness to handle anything from a will to a divorce, “I was your attorney then. “His first dog-bite case was anything but amusing. It involved a young girl who was living with her mother in a motel. The child was severely bitten in the face by a dog that belonged to a motel employee. The attorney sued for damages and won a sizable settlement from the motel owner’s insurance carrier. The case, though horrifying from the young girl’s perspective, since she was scarred and even today is mortified by her disfigurement, was particularly satisfying. He managed to secure an award that recompensed the girl for her trauma and future medical expenses involving plastic surgery. He believes he extracted a measure of justice. “I enjoy working with families,” he says. “Much of my work involves young mothers, who are guilt-ridden and worried about their child’s future.” From that case, he has gone on to handle other dog-bite cases. Today, 50 percent of his practice is devoted to dog bites, which generally fall into two broad categories – adult victims, such as mail carriers and delivery personnel, who generally suffer puncture wounds on the legs, and small children, whose facial wounds are much more critical. “Most of the cases,” he says, “take place in a residential area, and, two-thirds of the time, the victims know the dog. “Since a dog owner is responsible for any damage caused by their dog, a majority of the cases are settled out of court by a defendant’s homeowner’s insurance company. Currently, his caseload includes a 3-year-old boy who was bitten on the face by an unprovoked pit bull, a 3-1/2-year-old girl who was also bitten on the face by a pit bull (“She was shaking her finger at the dog and saying he was a bad dog”), and an adult who lost the tip of his nose to a Doberman, which he had innocently reached down to pet, only to have the dog lunge.
“I do an inordinate number of cases against pit bulls, ” he said, adding indignantly, “The people who say (in the breed’s defense) that it’s just the way they are raised doesn’t make any difference to a little 5-year-old who has just been bitten. The owners of the dogs just don’t care. “The most alarming case he ever handled involved a 9-year-old girl walking home from school, who was attacked by a pit bull whose bite was so savage it splintered the girl’s arm bone. The dog was beaten off by two passing motorists brandishing tire irons. He believes the Samaritans saved the girl’s life. A settlement in a dog-bite case, he says, who works on a contingency basis, can range from a few thousand dollars to $25,000 and up, with greater liability in suits
involving children. “Often the cases involve scarring, ” he said. “The challenge is being able to predict future damage. ” In any event, he is making a
decent go as a leading dog-bite attorney. As for the relative prestige of his unusual practice, he remains undaunted by the spate of canine puns, and the woofing of his colleagues. “I’ve got a specialty,” he says, “it’s helpful, and I think I do a great job at it. My job is to get full value for a person who has been injured. ” Contrary to his reputation, hr has nothing personal against dogs. “I like dogs,” he says. He even owns a dog. “A small dog.” It’s a cockapoo, a few pounds of unbridled affection, a licking machine. Its name is Peanut. Little Peanut isn’t about to sink its teeth into a passing pants cuff.
What about dangerous felines – a haughty Siamese, a hissing Abyssinian? “I’ve never done a cat case,” he said, his ears perked. This opens up a whole new kennel of pet plaintiffs.
Dog owners are expected to love and care for their dogs by feeding them, taking them to veterinarians, providing ample sleep and playroom, and spending time with them. Owners should also provide proper socialization and training to ensure that their dogs will feel safe and comfortable around people and children. Neglected dogs do not receive the attention that is necessary to make them sociable and safe when exposed to people. Dogs that are malnourished, left alone, and not given proper care are unhappy and resentful, transforming them into mean and dangerous animals. We can characterize dogs that attack into two categories:
Dangerous – If, on two separate occasions within an 18-month period, the dog acts menacingly to a degree that a reasonable person would feel the need to defend himself, whenever the dog is off the owner’s premises and/or not confined in a cage, pen or vehicle.
Vicious – If, without provocation, the dog kills or inflicts serious bodily harm to a person. Also, if the owner is notified of the dog’s dangerous
status and the dog continues to act menacingly to a degree that a reasonable person would feel the need to defend himself, whenever the dog is off the owner’s property and/or not confined in a cage, pen, or vehicle. If a dog is considered dangerous, the owner must provide proper training and socialization for the dog to prevent future attacks. By disregarding this and allowing the dog to become vicious, the owner is putting other people in harm’s way and can be found liable for injuries and death that may result.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a dog bite as a result of a negligent dog owner, you need the representation of an experienced dog bite injury lawyer at our Law Firm. Our attorneys have successfully recovered damages for dog bite victims and appropriately held negligent dog owners responsible for injuries and hardships resulting from the attack. If you have been the victim of a dog bite or animal attack, contact a reputable dog bite lawyer at our Law Firm today for your free legal consultation. Our Firm has been awarded the highest ranking a law firm can be awarded, signifying that the lawyers have reached the best heights of professional excellence and are recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity.