According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4.7 million people (approximately 1.5% of the American population) are bitten by dogs every year. Another study by the CDC reports that, on average, 1,000 people seek emergency medical attention each day for dog bite injuries. Some of these dogs are animals that we see for the first time, and somewhere around half of them, according to the CDC, are dogs we already know.
These frightening statistics demonstrate the physical damage that dogs are capable of.
Though many dogs are friendly and loveable, there are still many dogs who may harm others when they are scared, provoked, or mistreated. Dog bites can be especially painful for children and the elderly, although any dog bit can cause pain.
Owners are responsible for ensuring their dogs do not harm others, regardless of temperament or provocation.
If you or your child has been bitten by a dog or other animal, you may have legal grounds to pursue compensation from the negligent owner. To learn how our Minnesota dog bite lawyers can help you pursue the payment that you need for your injury-related costs, contact Robert Wilson & Associates today at (612) 334-3444.
Dog Bites and Owner Negligence
Often, dog bites occur because a dog is not properly restrained. Owners are responsible for their pets and the actions of their pets, and if they fail to take reasonable precautions against a dog bite or animal attack, they can be held legally liable for any injuries their pets cause.
Our Minnesota dog bite injury lawyers understand how painful and costly a dog bite or animal attack can be. We are committed to representing those who have been injured by a dog bite or animal attack. We are prepared to negotiate a settlement with the animal’s owner, or if necessary, we will aggressively argue your case in court. We can help you pursue compensation for:
- Medical bills – Dog bites can be extremely expensive to heal from. At the very least, most people affected by dog bites need medical attention, which can be costly. Bandages, stitches, shots, and rehabilitation should all be covered by a negligent owner if you have been bitten by their dog.
- Lost income from time off work – Unfortunately, medical expenses are not the only costly component of dog bites. Many times, a dog bite in a sensitive area of the body can cause a lasting or permanent disability, chronic pain or sensitivity. This can require additional medical treatments to address those issues, as well as an extended period of time when you are unable to work. Your lost income from work should be recovered by a personal injury attorney after a dog bite accident.
- Medical travel costs – If victims need plastic surgery or other types of surgery as part of their medical treatment, they often have to travel to another city or state to see medical specialists. Flights and extended trips for medical treatment can be compensated in dog bite cases.
- Plastic surgery or physical therapy expenses – These are one of the most expensive aspects of dog bite cases, and can cost thousands of dollars out-of-pocket, even with health insurance. The owner responsible for the dog who caused your injury should also be responsible for your recovery.
- Other injury-related costs – These are determined on a case-by-case basis, but all expenses related to your accident will be covered by the maximum compensation we can secure for you.
If you have been bitten by a dog, you understand the emotional trauma and physical damage these bites can inflict in a very short period of time. Because of their small size and their tendency to try to run, children are especially at risk of being bitten or attacked by dogs and other animals.
If you or your child has been hurt by a dog bite or animal attack, we at Robert Wilson & Associates are prepared to represent your case. We have helped many Minnesota residents with a wide variety of dog bite and animal attack cases, and we are proud to apply our extensive knowledge and experience to your case.
Signs of Negligence
Despite the liability that owners face if their dog is responsible for biting a passerby, many dog owners fail to maintain safe conditions for others and contribute to the dog bite accidents. These owners are responsible for compensating victims for their accident and taking measures to ensure that the dog does not injure anyone else.
But it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether the owner is liable for the dog bite accident, and many clients wonder if it was partially their fault. There are some warning signs that an owner is liable for their dog’s biting incident, including:
- Previous incidents – If the dog has already bitten someone, and the owner failed to take adequate precautions in spite of this, the owner may be responsible for additional offenses. Prior complaints by neighbors or other people who regularly come into contact with the dog are warning signs that the dog may be aggressive toward people.
- Menacing displays such as excessive barking, growling, jumping or chasing – Dogs that show signs of aggression before they’ve bitten anyone should make the owner aware that they need to be more careful about containing the dog or keeping it on a leash in public. If it can be proven that the dog had shown aggressive tendencies before you were bitten, then the owner may be liable for your compensation.
- Prior fighting behavior – Unfortunately, some dogs are trained to be aggressive because they were placed in harmful environments where they were required to fight other dogs. Though aggression towards other dogs does not equate to aggression towards people, a dog that is aggressive towards other dogs, or that has a prior history of fighting, should make the owner more careful when the dog is in contact with others.
- A dog’s breed – Some breeds of dogs are, by temperament, more aggressive than others. These breeds include Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Jack Russell Terriers, and Rottweilers, to name a few. Dog owners who have naturally-aggressive breeds of dogs have the responsibility to control the dogs’ behavior for the safety of others. Breed-specific pieces of evidence have to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Even if a dog has never displayed signs of aggression, there are many instances where an owner should have been paying more attention to their dog’s whereabouts and actions. In these cases, a dog can seemingly hurt a victim at random, and the owner is responsible for the victim’s injuries, regardless of the absence of prior displays of aggression.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
After a dog bite, most victims do not end up pursuing compensation. There are a number of reasons for this. The CDC estimates that approximately half of all dog bites happen with familiar dogs. Because these dogs belong to friends, family, or neighbors, the person who was bitten may be reluctant to take legal action.
Additionally, some dog bites don’t seem to be that serious, yet they can be painful for extended periods of time. Sometimes, however, victims simply do not know that they can pursue compensation for their injuries.
If you are wondering whether you should contact a lawyer about your dog bite, remember that your injuries should be covered by the liable owner, and that an attorney can help you secure more compensation than you can alone.
In dog bite cases, it must be established that you are injured, that the injury was caused by a dog, and that the dog in question should and could have been prevented from biting you if the owner had exercised reasonable care.
Often, people who decide not to take legal action after a dog bite don’t understand what their claim is worth, or the ease of filing a claim with a lawyer’s help. We strongly encourage you to get a free evaluation of your claim, since a lawyer can help secure the compensation you deserve.
Why Choose Robert Wilson & Associates?
Robert Wilson & Associates has almost three decades of legal experience handling personal injury cases. For more than 25 years, Robert Wilson has pursued compensation for clients as they heal from dog bite injuries in Minnesota. Our firm has been awarded numerous commendations for our service, including a spot on the Super Lawyers list, membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and recognition as one of the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
We understand the nuances of dog bite cases. Dog bites can be complicated by family ties, property boundary confusions, and cases that involve several different dependent injuries, such as those where a victim was scared into tripping, falling, and sustaining further injuries like a broken bone.
With our experience and attention to detail, Robert Wilson & Associates can piece together the events of the accident and determine the best course of action for your dog bite case. We understand that it can be hard to move forward with your decision to pursue a case, and even more difficult to heal after a traumatizing and painful experience.
We want to make sure that your decision is worthwhile. Our attorneys will provide you with the information you need to make educated decisions about your road to recovery so that you can rest easy, knowing your dog bite case is in good hands.
To learn more about dog bite injuries and your legal options following an animal attack, contact a Minnesota dog bite injury attorney from Robert Wilson & Associates today by calling (612) 334-3444.