Hiring A Dog Bite Laywer? Here Is Some Useful Information
Dog bite injuries usually fall under personal injury. So A personal injury attorney would be the best to consult if you have been bitten by a dog. A personal injury lawyer would be able to refer you to a specialist lawyer if applicable.
Most states have a law that obliges animal owners to keep their pets well restrained. This is for many reasons but one of the main reason is because, the pet owner is in most cases legally liable for their dog’s actions. However, there are also other people other than to direct dog owner who may hold responsibility for the dog's actions. The list of liable people or entities includes the following:
- Anyone who is keeping the dog for the owner (landlord, house helper, etc.).
- Schools that permit kids to play with dogs and eventually bites them.
- Police officers that authorizes the agent dog to attack or bite suspects.
- Employers will be also responsible for damages induced by dogs that were owned by their employee and were used for work. (Doctrine similar to “Respondeat Superior” – “let the master answer for the acts of the subordinate”. Liability is extended to include the master but not to shift the charges. Therefore, the pet owner is still fully accountable.)
- Stores that authorizes customer to carry their dogs and causes harm to the other customers. (Dogs running after people and biting or knocking them down.)
The Animal Bite Lawsuits
The person that has been bitten by a dog can have a full reimbursement for the damages from the owner himself or from the insurance policy. Legal grounds vary from place to place depending on their country law, court judgment and state statutes. In most cases the lawsuit could be the “one-bite rule”, statutory liability, or negligence.
The One-Bite Rule
This means that a pet owner will be free of charges, if their pet has bitten someone only "one time" or for the first time. This is subject to an investigation and falls under reasonable causes. This is the hardest ground for the injured party because he has to prove the following:
- The owner knew that his dog is susceptible to bite people for no reason.
- The dog already bit a person prior the incident or,
- The dog is in the vein of biting.
The rule consists of, but not limited to, biting and producing injuries, such as falling over and knocking someone down. It should be noted that a “bite” is not essential for the victim to be entitled to compensation. Victim must simply show that the dog expressed an intent to bite, where in the owner is aware and that it bit or injured someone previously.
Statutory liability is used as a legal term indicating that someone can be accountable for an act or lapse associated to a law that is not open for interpretation. Simply, a law that is unspoken but understood. In case of a dog bite, this is the easiest way for the victim to obtain reparation for injuries. In this liability, the victim doesn’t need to verify that the animal bit someone else before or it has the liking to harm people. No one will be addressed as the “accuser”, but only it is understood that the victim is injured or bitten and the penalties will fall on the owner because, he plainly owns the dog.
It is also possible that injuries under the statutory liability could be inflicted without physical contact between the two parties. Given, that the dog’s actions were mischievous enough to impose damages based on reasonable statement from the plaintiff. For example, the case of Bohan v. Ritzo (1995), the victim was on his bicycle when he noticed a small dog came running towards him. He chase off the dog to send it away, using his leg so he stuck it out. The man fell, losing his balance and was injured harshly. The victim received compensation with the jury relying not only on the presence of the dog on the incident, but on the mischievous act that resulted to serious injuries.
Some of the statutes have limitations, additional requirements or specifications which need to be reviewed closely.
Negligence is the act of omitting or committing deed that will cause harm to a person, which a rational prudent person will not do. It is doing what should not be done, or not doing what should be done, that is, within the scope of your responsibility. Examples include, letting a dog to run at large, chaining the dog near a lot of people, allowing a dog to trespass, carrying too many pets all together in a park, and permitting dogs to run after someone. When the animal control law has been violated, it could also be considered negligence, and the person committing it should be held responsible to pay for a full compensation towards a victim of these negligent acts.
If You Feel You Need To Consult An Attorney, Here's A List Of Probably Dog Bite Attorney Costs
It is actually hard to place a definite cost for dog-bite cases because most of the time, it varies depending on the situation and the agreement between you and your lawyer.
- $20 - $320 or more - The simplest case, like no scarring with basic medical care can be placed in Small Claims Court, and can actually run without a lawyer. These were the filing fees and extra costs, but can have this back from the defendant once you win the case.
- $1,000 - $2,000 – These are the investigation charges, expert witness fees, court costs, clerical labor, gathering evidences, medical – legal consultations and other expenses. The price could be higher depending on what is entailed.
- $500 - $1000 – payment per lay witness. This could also be your lawyer’s transportation costs for each witness.
- $3,000 - $5,000 – The price for mediation if the case has been submitted to a mediator.
- $100 - $300 – hourly rate of a lawyer. Whether or not your case is successful, you will be charged monthly that may go $5,000 - $25,000 and up.
- $10,000 -$50,000 – These are the legal defence costs and can go as high as $100,000 - $200,000.
- $5,000 - $500,000 – These are settlements or judgment awards for dog bite cases.
Note that the indicated prices are estimates and could be higher depending on your case. It is best to talk openly with your dog bite lawyer for full details. Your dog bite attorney should also present a written fee agreement. Review these closely, for mistakes about settlement could make your $50,000-win vanish into thin air.