They may be man’s best friend, but dogs can also pose a serious threat in certain situations. And if you’ve ever been bitten or attacked by a should-be-friendly animal, you know just how scary and traumatizing it can be. This may lead you to ask, “How difficult is suing someone for dog bites?”
After an attack, it helps to know and understand your rights and options. Suing someone because of a dog bite is not right for every situation, but it may be a choice you should consider.
Schedule a free case evaluation if you want to meet with a Morgan & Morgan attorney to discuss your situation in closer detail. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can examine the facts of your case and help you explore your legal options.
How Often Do Dog Attacks Happen?
Before you can find the answer to “How difficult is suing someone for dog bites?” it helps to understand how common this situation is. First, you should know that more than 48 million households in the United States own at least one dog.
And while that is a staggering number, it should come as no surprise. For the most part, dogs are fun, loyal, and good for the soul. However, they can be dangerous in certain conditions and can even cause serious injuries.
According to the CDC, there are more than 800,000 cases of dog bites requiring medical attention each year. Of those cases, more than 300,000 require treatment in a hospital. So if a dog has attacked you, it may help to know that you aren’t alone.
Unfortunately, around half of all dog bite victims are children. In fact, dog bites are a bigger health problem for young children than whooping cough, mumps, and measles combined. They happen more often than playground injuries or bike accidents.
In other words, dog bites are a bigger problem than you may even realize. And if you or a loved one has become a victim, no one would blame you for exploring all of your legal options.
As always, if you need help from a qualified attorney, you can turn to the experts at Morgan & Morgan. We can help you get the compensation you deserve from the liable party so that you can focus on your recovery.
What Can You Do to Prevent a Dog Bite?
Unfortunately, some accidents are unavoidable — dog attacks are no exception to this rule. But there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your children whenever you are exposed to a potentially dangerous situation.
Learning to be safe around pets is a good idea for everyone, especially children. That’s why we recommend these safety steps for all of our clients:
- Always ask the owner if you can pet a dog before approaching
- Approach new dogs slowly
- Initiate contact by slowly presenting the backside of your hand for the dog to smell
- Teach your children never to bark or growl at a canine
- Remember that any dog has the potential to bite
- Teach your children to tell you whenever they see a loose dog in the area
- Never disturb a dog that is eating or drinking
- If you’re out walking, consider crossing the street to avoid unfamiliar dogs
- Never chase a dog that is trying to walk or run away from you
You or your children don’t need to fear every dog you see. But a healthy appreciation for potential danger is a smart way to keep everyone safe. As a parent or guardian of a child, remember to never leave the child alone with an animal, especially if it’s an animal you are unfamiliar with.
What Are the Common Injuries From a Dog Bite?
In addition to asking, “how difficult is suing someone for dog bites?” you may also wonder how serious an injury a dog bite can be. There is a range of common injuries that result from a dog attack. Here are a few that you or a loved one may have experienced:
When you think of a dog attack, you may envision cuts and gashes. But a dog’s jaw is actually powerful enough to break bones on top of everything else. Broken bones can also occur as the result of a dog pushing you to the ground.
Lacerations are one of the most common results of a dog attack. These can range in severity from a minor cut to a gash deep enough to penetrate the skin, muscle, and even nerves.
When a dog attacks, it often goes for the face. Injuries to the lips, cheeks, and nose are the most common result.
Unfortunately, another common result of a dog attack is rabies. You should always seek medical attention immediately after an attack, even if you don’t believe the injuries are serious. Symptoms of rabies may not appear for several days, but the sooner you seek treatment, the better.
Of course, this is just a brief overview of the physical trauma you might experience in a dog attack. You could also face serious emotional and mental trauma as well. In some cases, it’s even possible for a person — especially children — to develop PTSD after an attack.
How Do You Determine Who Is at Fault for a Dog Bite?
If you are still wondering how difficult is suing someone for dog bites, the answer can be a bit complicated. The first step is determining who is at fault for the dog bite. Although you may assume the person to blame is the animal’s owner, that is not always the case.
In some states, especially those with strict liability laws, the owner is immediately liable for any injuries caused by their pet — especially if there were previous signs that the dog might eventually attack someone. However, some other details can impact this, including:
- Whether you provoked the animal or hold any blame for the accident
- Whether you were trespassing on the owner’s property
- Whether the attack took place at a negligent animal care facility
If you are not sure who is to blame for your injuries after an attack, that means it’s time to consult with an attorney. Morgan & Morgan is here to help you sort through the details and evaluate your options during this challenging time.
Is It Worth the Effort to Sue for a Dog Bite?
As we mentioned, the answer to “How difficult is suing someone for dog bites?” is complicated. But if you are considering a lawsuit, there are some details you should consider.
First of all, even if your injuries are relatively minor, you do have the right to pursue legal action for compensation. If an owner or animal care facility was negligent, you deserve to be compensated for the trauma you experienced. At the very least, you may want to consider taking the case to small claims court.