If you’ve been injured by a dog, usually, the first course of action is to contact the owner to have some negotiations about the hospital expenses. The stress comes in if you and the dog owner can’t work something out. There’s only a little percentage of dog bite disputes that get to court because of the time and the money involved to resolve them.
The one who’s bitten by a dog and the owner need to be knowledgeable about the situation, especially if there’s already a lawsuit involved.
For dog owners, it’s essential for them to be aware of how they can defend themselves as fur parents, especially if they think that they didn’t fail in their responsibilities. On the other hand, the person injured must be educated on how to protect their rights as a victim.
Here are the things that both dog owners and the ones injured need to know about the dog bite lawsuit:
1. Know The Steps On How To File For A Dog Bite Lawsuit
Before filing a dog bite lawsuit, it’s important to ensure that you’ve already sought medical attention for your dog bite injury. If you’re not with the owner during the treatment, make sure to take a photograph of your sustained injury and take note of important pieces of information, like the bite area and what time the attack happened, so you can prove your claim. Also, you need to get the dog owner’s name, address, and contact details so if they aren’t aware of what happened, you can easily notify them for settlement.
The best settlement to resolve a dog bite incident is for the dog owner to pay for the treatment and other expenses. However, if the dog owner is uncooperative about the compensation or possible settlement, this is where a dog bite lawsuit comes in. Contact a lawyer to assist you with the suitable lawsuit to be filed. If you don’t know a lawyer personally, there are websites, such as https://www.sadakafirm.com/, where you can meet a team of lawyers who can assist you handle your case.
2. Know What To Do If The Lawsuit Has Been Filed Against You
If there has been a report filed against your dog, it means that you, as the owner, need to cooperate. Most cases are being investigated by the animal control authority, but it’s also ideal to contact your own dog bite attorney so you can get assistance along the way. To give you a heads up, when there’s a lawsuit filed, you may face fines or, worse, criminal charges.
During the process, there’s a possibility that your pet could be taken away from you, especially if they’re an aggressive dog. With the help of your dog bite attorney, they’ll verify, based on the other party’s evidence submitted, if the lawsuit filed is applicable to the situation. Your lawyer will also advise you if it’s better to settle it or to continue the case.
There are some instances wherein you need to fight for your rights. For example, if a trespasser entered your property, so, as a defence mechanism, your dog aggressively responded. In this case, the trespasser still has the right to file a dog bite lawsuit. You’re also given a fair chance to file counter charges since your dog is inside your property, and they have a natural instinct to bite if they sense that there’s something wrong.
3. Be Aware Of The Dog Bite Liability In Your Place
If there’s clear negligence on the part of the dog owner, they can always be held liable if there are property damage or injuries involved. However, negligence rules vary from one place to another, and they get updated every time. That’s why it’s essential to do your research to know the most up-to-date information.
There’re two types of dog bite liability—strict statutory liability and the one-bite rule—that also have varying consequences for the dog owner.
In places where strict statutory liability is implemented, the dog owner is the one liable for the damage or injury caused by their pet canine.
On the other hand, the one-bite rule is a much more lenient dog bite liability because if your dog is naturally aggressive or they show signs that they can inflict harm, you’ll just have to show proof that the dog is really dangerous so you’ll be free from liable charges. However, if there’s negligence on the dog owner’s part, even though their pet is naturally aggressive, the owner must still be held liable because there were no precautionary actions done to ensure that they’ll not harm anyone or anything.
4. Be Cautious About Mistakes Done Before Filing Dog Bite Lawsuits
If you’re a dog bite victim, before filing a lawsuit, it’s important to take note of some mistakes that may affect how the case will go.
The first common mistake is failing to report the bite immediately. When you fail to report the bite incidence, there’s a possibility that your evidence may no longer be raw. The possible reasons why dog bite victims fail to report is because they’re traumatized about the incident, or the dog owner pleaded with them not to report in exchange for compensation.
If there’s no police record of what happened or the animal control authority isn’t notified, there’s a possibility that you’ll have a hard time making the dog owner liable. Even though the dog owner promised to give you a resolution, if there’s no written agreement, it can be an escape for them, especially if it’s past the allowed timeframe to file a lawsuit.
Another common mistake is not getting a legal representation due to budget constraints. One of the common reasons why dog bite victims lose the lawsuit filed without progress is because they aren’t knowledgeable about the next steps that they need to take. Whether you’re the dog owner, seeking legal assistance is the right thing to do to ensure that there’s fair treatment.
Whether you’re the dog bite victim or the dog owner, having sufficient knowledge about dog bite lawsuits helps protect your rights, helping you determine where you stand. There’s a notion that dog owners are always the ones liable if their pets did bite someone, but there are instances wherein dog owners also have valid defences. If there’s already a dog bite lawsuit filed, let a lawyer assist you in ensuring that you’re properly guided about what to do.