If you or a loved one is a victim of a dog bite or other animal attack, you should speak to a dog bite lawyer immediately to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies. Bergen County dog bite lawyer will be able to explain the value of your case and help you navigate through the complicated legal process. Most lawyers who handle these types of personal injury matters work on a contingency basis.
Dog Bite Quick Facts
• There are approximately 4.5 million reported dog bites annually in the United States (nearly 2 % of the American population). The majority of dog bites are never reported to local authorities.
• Ten to 20 people die every year as a result of dog bites in the U.S. By far, the majority of the victims are children.
• 1,000 dog bite victims per day are seen in hospital emergency rooms.
• Children are more likely to be bitten than any other segment of the population.
• More than 40 percent of severe bite victims are children under age 11.
• More than half of all children will be victims of a dog bite by the time they reach age 12.
• Dog attacks account for one-third of all liability claims on homeowners’ insurance policies. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) , the insurance industry paid out more than $1 billion in dog-bite claims.
• Dog bites to people of the male gender are approximately two times greater than the incidence involving females.
• Dogs that are licensed with an identifiable owner are implicated in the vast majority of dog bites (when compared with strays).
• Dogs not known to the victim account for approximately 10 – 20% of all reported dog bites.
• Dogs between one and five years are involved in more dog bite incidences than dogs older than 6 years. Male dogs are more frequently involved when compared with female dogs.
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document that a chained dog is 2.8 times more likely to bite than an unchained dog.
• Canines not spayed or neutered are three times more likely to bite than sterilized ones.
• The majority of dog bites to people are inflicted to the lower extremities followed by bites to the upper extremities including the head, face and neck.
• The breeds most often involved in fatal attacks are Rottweilers and Pit bulls.
Dog Bite Lawsuit
The legal rights of a dog bite victim depend on where the attack happened. Most states make the owner responsible for all bites, even if the animal has not shown any previous aggressive tendencies. In every state, any person might be liable if he or she was negligent or maintained custody or control of the animal with knowledge that it was dangerous or aggressive. In cities with a “leash law,” violation may constitute negligence.
In every state, a victim can recover compensation from:
• A person whose negligence caused the attack
• A person who violated a leash law or a law prohibiting dogs from “running at large”
• A person who kept a dog with the knowledge that the dog had a history of injuring people
In most states a victim can recover compensation from a dog owner because of the state’s “dog bite statute.” Generally, dog bite statutes make a dog owner responsible for all bites, even if the dog never bit anyone before. The fact that a dog does not have prior attacks, or that the owner has no awareness of a dog’s viciousness is not determinative in a Dog Bite lawsuit.
Sometimes a victim can recover compensation from people who, at first glance, might appear to have little to do with the dog. For example, a landlord might be liable if he knows that a tenant keeps a dog that bites people, provided that the landlord has the legal power to get rid of the tenant. Or a day care center might be liable for permitting someone with a large, aggressive dog to allow it onto the premises.
10 Things to do if a Dog Bites You
If you have been injured and believe that you may have a case against an individual, corporation, or other entity, it is very important that you do not delay in seeking legal representation. If substantial time has passed since the incident, you should contact a local attorney immediately.
To preserve your claim against the owner of the dog, use the following guidelines:
- Identify the animal that bit you. If the animal isn’t caught and tested, you may be subject to a very painful series of rabies vaccinations. If you were attacked by a dog or any wild animal being kept by a person, you probably are entitled to receive compensation from the animal’s owner to pay your medical bills, reimburse you for lost income, and help you overcome the pain and suffering from your injuries.
- Dog Owners name. Get the name, address, and telephone number of the person who owns the animal that attacked you.
- List of Witnesses. Get the name and address of everyone who saw the attack, or heard or saw events immediately before and after it that are part of the “story” of the attack. If possible, get information about the owner of the dog.
- Medical Attention. Make sure that the victim gets medical attention. Keep track of your medical bills and treatments.
- Get Photographs. Photograph the wounds if possible. If it is not possible, then insist that the physicians do so at the hospital, prior to treating the victim. In any event, photograph them after the victim returns from the hospital (leaving the bandages intact!), the day after the attack, the next day, and then every couple of days.
- Caution on Signing Papers. Don’t sign anything until you’re had the chance to discuss your matter with a lawyer. It is OK to sign the hospital admission paperwork. DO NOT sign anything presented to you by an insurance company, the owner of the dog, and the landlord or other owner of the property where the attack took place.
- Do not permit the dog to be destroyed! It is the best evidence in the case. There must be precise examination and evaluation of the size and spacing of its teeth, the contents of its stomach, the presence of blood on its fur, and its DNA. Mouth casting is essential.
- Plastic Surgeons and Severe Scaring. If you are wounded on the face, insist on treatment by a plastic surgeon because emergency room doctors are great at keeping people alive but necessarily the best at making stitches and wounds look good!
- Contact the Animal Control Board. If you are not familiar with the dog or its owner, contact your local animal control board and report the incident. Animal control officers may be able to locate the dog and determine its rabies vaccination status.
- Do not hesitate to consult a Dog Bite lawyer. There are laws called “statutes of limitations.” They say that you lose all of your rights unless you file a court case within a certain amount of time after sustaining a bodily injury. Therefore, call a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible.