Dog owners are required by law to properly contain their dog and ensure it harms no one. When a dog bites, injured victims are sometimes left with serious injuries and scars that last a lifetime. It is sometimes difficult for dog bite victims to know whether they need to seek legal help from an attorney. While not all dog bites need legal help, there are some that require the guidance of an attorney.
Understanding the Dog Bite Laws
Each state has its own dog bite laws. In most states, when someone is attacked by a dog, the dog owner is held liable, though there are some exceptions to the law.
There are some states that have adopted the “One Bite Rule” and it states the owner is only held strictly liable if they knew of their dog’s propensity for biting. There are also strict liability states that state the dog owner is liable in all cases where a person was attacked without provocation.
When Should You Get an Attorney Involved?
It can sometimes be difficult for bitten victims to determine if they need to hire an attorney. Those who are unaware of the dog bite laws would benefit from at least consulting with an attorney to learn about the law and their rights as an injured victim. The following are some scenarios when it would be appropriate to hire an attorney.
1. Individuals should hire an attorney if their bite injury is severe and requires medical treatment. If it is a simple scratch or bruise, there may not be any major damages to pursue. If the dog bite broke through the skin and led to bleeding and the need for stitches or surgery, an attorney should definitely be sought.
2. If the dog owner is denying the dog bite occurred, it may be wise for the victim to gain legal representation. In some cases, an owner will simply admit fault and pay the medical fees and be done, but this does not always happen. A victim needs to be sure they are protecting their rights by seeking legal help.
3. If the victim is unsure of their liability in the bite, it would be wise for them to consult with a lawyer. Those who trespass or provoke a dog may not be able to pursue the owner. In some cases, the victim is sometimes to blame for causing the attack. Those who are unsure of the strength of their liability case should meet with a lawyer to determine the best course of action.
Scheduling a Consultation Can Ease Your Mind
Dog bites can occur when least expected and can sometimes leave behind serious injuries and emotional turmoil. Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultation appointments to new clients, so it is advantageous to meet with them. When a victim knows their rights and the legal options that are available to them, they are generally able to make better decisions.
A dog attack can be extremely frightening, especially when they occur against helpless victims. Laws have been put in place to hold dog owners accountable for the bites caused by their dogs. Although it is never required, many dogs bite victims find comfort in seeking legal guidance, so they are aware of the steps they need to take to hold the owner accountable. Innocent dog bite victims have the right to seek fair compensation for the injuries and damages they suffered.