Were You the Victim of a Dog Attack? We Are Here to Help
Households in the United States own close to 90 million dogs. Whether a dog is part of the family, helps with work on a farm, or provides a service to its owner, dog owners should always take reasonable care to prevent their animals from causing harm to others. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and many people suffer dog bites each year.
Dog bites can cause many different physical and emotional injuries. Attacks can be traumatic and injuries often require medical care. In serious instances, such as a disfiguring injury to the victim’s face, a dog bite may have permanent traumatic effects. If you or your child suffered injuries from a dog bite, you may have important legal rights under Louisiana law. Please contact the lawyers of Egenberg, APLC today to discuss the details of what happened for free.
Traumatic Injuries from Dog Bites
Some dog bites scare the victim without leaving physical marks. However, if a dog bite breaks the victim’s skin, it is imperative to seek medical attention – even if the wound is minor. If the dog has not had current rabies vaccinations, it may be necessary to quarantine the animal, test it for rabies, and for the victim to take a course of treatment to prevent rabies. In addition, dog bites usually require cleaning and treatment by a medical professional to prevent any future complications.
The following are only some of the many injuries that can stem from a serious dog bite:
- Torn muscles
- Fractured bones
- Puncture wounds
Even a seemingly minor cut from a dog bite can get infected if it is not properly cleaned and treated. These wounds can be difficult to clean at home and even as the wound heals, bacteria may remain under the skin and turn into a dangerous infection.
Additionally, a serious dog bite may result in the disfigurement of the victim. Bites to the face can result in permanent scarring and a victim may require reconstructive surgery. Dogs have strong jaws that can crush bones and tear tissue, requiring surgery, hospitalization, and ongoing treatment.
Never discount the mental and emotional effects of a dog attack, in addition to the physical injuries and scars. Getting attacked by a dog is a traumatic event that can lead to anxiety disorders, extreme phobia of dogs, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All of these can disrupt a victim’s life and may affect their job, school, and relationships. Mental injuries from dog bites may require treatment just as physical injuries do.
The Rights of a Dog Bite Victim in Louisiana
Each state including Louisiana has its own specific laws regarding liability for dog bites and when a bite victim can obtain compensation for resulting injuries. These laws vary significantly from state to state. It is critical to have an attorney on your side who is knowledgeable about dog bite laws that apply in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana.
The majority of states hold a dog owner strictly liable for any harm caused by their animals. This means that even if the dog had shown no signs of violence and the owner did nothing wrong, the owner can still be responsible for the victim’s losses. Louisiana is quite different, as state law allows a victim to financially recover only if a dog owner was negligent in some way that led to the dog attack. Specifically, the following must be true:
- The dog owner knew or should have known that there was a risk the dog would cause harm.
- The owner could have taken reasonable care to prevent the dog bite.
- The owner failed to do so and the dog bite caused harm to another person.
A dog bite victim must prove each element of negligence in order for the dog owner to be held liable. For example, imagine that an unrestrained dog left the owner’s property and attacked a person walking down the street. The injured pedestrian must prove that the attack could have been prevented if the owner had restrained the dog with a fence or a leash. If the owner had reason to know that the dog might leave the property and attack someone, the owner may be deemed negligent for failing to restrain it. Unlike dog bites cases in most other states, New Orleans dog bite victims need a personal injury attorney who knows how to gather and provide sufficient evidence of negligence in a dog bite claim.
Another important aspect of dog bite cases in Louisiana is that a dog owner can defend against liability by claiming a victim provoked the dog in some way. A victim’s recovery may be decreased or barred completely if the dog owner succeeds in a provocation claim. A skilled dog bite lawyer will know how to challenge such a defense and help you receive the maximum amount possible in your case. Even if you are accused of provoking a dog, you should still never hesitate to contact our law firm to discuss your rights to compensation for your injuries.
Even if you have the legal right to hold a dog owner liable, you do not have an unlimited amount of time to do so. Louisiana law sets out a deadline—called a statute of limitations—for all personal injury claims in civil court, including dog bite claims. Louisiana also has one of the shortest statutes of limitations of all states, allowing only one year from the date of the injury to file a petition in court. Although there are some exceptions to the one-year rule, most injured victims will lose their right to seek any compensation at all if they fail to act within this timeframe.
Dog bite petitions take time to prepare, so you should never wait until a year is almost up to contact a lawyer for help. Instead, contact our firm to discuss your rights as soon as possible.
Consult With a New Orleans Dog Bite Law Firm for Free Today
If a dog owner’s negligence caused you harm, you deserve to recover for your medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. The law firm of
Egenberg, APLC represents dog bite victims in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana and can advise you of your rights. Call us at (504) 229-5700 or contact us online to learn more.