Dog, Animal Bites & the Law
Thousands of people living in the States are bitten by animals
each year. Among these people, most of them suffer from dog bites.
Usually, people who are bitten by dogs and other animals that
people keep as livestock or pets will actually have the legal
right to ask for compensation and get the money to recover the
damages from the bites.
Of course, there are some exceptional cases. For instance, if
you challenge the dogs or other animals and you make them angry
so that they bite you, you may not have the legal ground to get
the compensation. Or perhaps you've entered someone's yard and
walked right past the warning about the owner's dog. This will
not help your case either.
When the animals bites you, you need to seek immediate medical
help. After this you may call the police. As you know, there are
a lot of infections caused by bites from dogs and other animals
and you have to make sure that you are under medical care so that
the infection will not spread.
After you have sought medical service and called police who should
have filed a report, write a journal of your own account of what
has happened. This may come into play later and will be helpful
for you to detail the circumstances while your memory is fresh.
After you do this, you should contact the animal's owner. They
may not be fully aware of the situation and may want to settle
your medical bills upfront.
If this interaction is not satisfying, another avenue of recourse
is to call a lawyer who is experienced in handling dog and animal
bite cases. The attorney will have enough tell you whether you
have a valid legal claim. They will give you advice so that you
can decide how to proceed.
You may want to provide the lawyer a copy of your journal with
the details of your entry. This will help the attorney to analyze
your case carefully. If there are witnesses, this should be written
down in the journal along with any details such as the person's
name, phone number and what they look like plus if they have any
relation to the animal owner.
In some states, owners of the animals will have 'strict liability'
for any accidents caused by the animal. This means that these
owners will be responsible to give you compensation for medical
bills and time lost at work.
But in some states and under some circumstances, the owner of
the animals would not be liable for the accidents. For instance,
if the victim is a child and the parents did not look after them
carefully, the parents may be held liable for the accident instead
of the animal owners.
In addition, landlords may sometimes be liable. If there are
two tenants living in the apartment and the landlord knows that
one of them has a dangerous animal, he or she would be responsible
for the accident provided that another tenant is bitten by the
The landlord did not protect the interests of other tenants in
the apartment and he or she should be responsible for the bites
or at least partially responsible along with the pet owner. These
are the kinds of issues when having an attorney review your case
would be helpful.