Dogs may be man’s best friend and closest companion, but they can also be quite dangerous. Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost one out of five bites becomes infected.
Worse yet, children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites. Among children, the rate of dog-bite-related injuries is highest for those five to nine-years-old.
At Morgan & Morgan, our Jonesboro office has successfully handled claims on behalf of dog bite victims, either through negotiations with the owner’s insurance company or litigation. We are well-versed in statutes enacted to protect the rights of our dog bite victims and understand that acting quickly following a dog bite is vital for protecting these rights. An immediate investigation can help establish liability for the bite and determine whether insurance coverage applies.
If you or a loved one has been bit by a dog, it’s important to contact an attorney immediately to learn more about your legal options. Fill out our free case evaluation form today to see what our Jonesboro dog bite attorneys may be able to do for you.
Workers’ Compensation and Dog Bite Injuries
Mail carriers, delivery personnel and other employees who are required to walk on private property or enter homes as part of their job description are given an “implied invitation” to enter the premises. A worker who is lawfully on the premises within the scope of their employment and is bit by a dog can submit a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides employees who are injured on the job with medical and wage replacement benefits. When an employee is bit by a dog at work, they may also have a claim against the owner of the dog — as long as it is not owned by the employer. A third party claim can provide the injured employee with additional compensation for pain and suffering and other losses not covered by workers’ compensation.
Are Dog Bite Cases Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?
Depending on the details of the case, homeowners’ insurance may cover damages resulting from dog bites which occur on the owner’s property. Dog bites may also be covered by automobile insurance if the injury is sustained in the owner’s motor vehicle or by animal insurance if the owner elected to purchase such coverage.
Even if the dog’s owner does not have coverage, the injured party can still bring a legal claim against the owner to collect compensation for their losses. To find out whether the dog’s owner is insured, our attorneys will ask to see the “declarations page” of their homeowners’, animal or renters’ insurance.
If the insurance limits seem inadequate, we will determine whether the owner has a supplemental policy which may cover the incident. If the dog’s owner denies having coverage or is unwilling to provide the details of the plan, these documents can be obtained during the discovery phase of the lawsuit, where attorneys for both parties share information regarding the accident and injury.
Liability for a Dog Attack
Dog bite laws in Arkansas say that the most common defendant is the owner of the dog; however, the degree of the owner’s liability varies between cases. In most cases, the owner is responsible for the dog’s actions regardless of whether they have any prior knowledge of the dog being vicious.
There are two limited exceptions to this rule in certain states. First, if the dog is provoked, the victim’s own negligence will taken into account when determining damages. Second, if the bite occurs on the owner’s property, they usually cannot be found liable (unless the victim is under 6-years-old) if there is an easily readable sign in a prominent place that says “Bad Dog.”
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Claims?
A statute of limitations is a law that states the amount of time following an incident the victim has to file a claim. In Arkansas, a dog bite claim must be filed within three years of the injury. After this time period expires, victims of dog bites may no longer bring their claims. Because of the statute of limitations, dog bite victims should not wait to contact an attorney in regard to their claim.
What Damages Can I Recover if I Am a Victim of a Dog Bite?
Dog bite victims may be entitled to damages including:
- Current and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Emotional distress.
With years of experience handling dog bite cases, our attorneys have witnessed the devastating physical, emotional, and financial effects these injuries can have on their victims. We have seen clients suffer serious injuries, which posed the risk of permanent scarring, and incur costly medical bills for related treatments. At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys understand the urgency of these matters and work diligently to help dog bite victims recover for their losses.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, please fill out our free case evaluation form to see how our Jonesboro dog bite attorneys may be able to assist you.