When a dog bites, their victim can suffer serious physical injuries. The injuries require medical treatment, which can generate hefty bills. The victim can lose time at work, which further deepens their economic trouble. On top of it all, they endure the emotional trauma of the attack, which can affect many aspects of their lives.
These losses should not fall on the victim’s shoulders. Rather, the owner of the attacking dog should pay the economic and non-economic consequences of their dog’s behavior.
If you suffered a dog bite in Alaska, you should know that a court can hold the dog owner liable for damages caused by your bite-related injuries. The state’s dog bite laws, however helpful, can present a legal challenge if you lack deep knowledge of the subject.
An Alaska dog bite lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can free you of this burden. We do not shy away from tough cases, and we will fight to the best of our ability to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (800) 816-0755 for a free consultation.
Injuries from Dog Bites
Scientific journal Heliyon published research about dog bites in March 2019. The study showed that between 2005 and 2013, an average of 337,103 hospital emergency room visits occurred each year for dog-bite-related injuries. According to the study’s authors, dog bite injuries pose a “significant public health issue” and represent the 13th most common injury prompting emergency room visits—more than injuries related to motorcycles, pedestrian accidents, and gunshot wounds.
Of the bites recorded in this study, around:
- 47% occurred on the upper extremity
- 27% occurred on the head/neck
- 22% occurred on the lower extremity
- 4% occurred on the trunk
Younger victims suffered more bites on the head and neck, and older victims experienced more bites on the upper extremity.
Understanding Alaska Dog Bite Liability Laws
Alaska falls into the category of “one bite rule” states, according to The Alaska Supreme Court’s decision in Hale v. O’Neill. According to Alaska law, you could hold the owner of a dog liable for an injury-causing attack if the owner had prior knowledge (or should have known) of the dog’s propensity to cause injury.
The Alaska Supreme Court applies the doctrine of strict liability in these cases. In other words, the claimant in a legal action need not prove the dog owner’s negligence led to the dog bite in order to receive compensation for the claimant’s injuries resulting from the attack.
Also, if a dog bite victim can show that a property management company, landlord, or landowner knew about the attacking dog’s propensity to harm but failed to take steps to prevent an attack, a court can hold such individuals liable for damages from an attack. Finally, if a dog owner’s reckless indifference or malice led to a dog bite, a court can award punitive damages to the bite victim.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Cases in Alaska
States generally impose a deadline for filing a lawsuit after a dog bite. This deadline is defined within the state’s statute of limitations. Alaska establishes the statute of limitations for dog bite cases as two years after the date of the injury.
Certain facts of the dog bite victim’s injury can change when the clock starts ticking. An Alaska dog bite lawyer can tell you where you stand within your window for filing a case in an Alaska civil court.
Types of Medical Attention You Might Need After a Dog Bite
Do not dismiss a dog bite as a trivial matter. Injuries from such attacks can lead to hefty expenses for medical treatment. Some common areas of treatment following a dog bite include:
- Rabies vaccinations
- Treatment for infections
- Therapy for emotional trauma
- Reconstructive surgery
- Physical rehabilitation/therapy
- Treatment of nerve damage
- Treatment of defensive wounds
- Scarring and disfigurement
You should not have to pay the cost for these medical treatments. Nor should you endure the burden of a diminished income due to missing days at work while you receive treatment and recover from your injuries.
Determining the Value of Your Case
The value of your dog bite case depends on several factors unique to your injury, how it has affected you, and how it will impact you physically, emotionally, and financially in the future. Your injuries will require medical treatment that a court may order the dog’s owner or another culpable party to reimburse.
Beyond medical treatment, you might incur other injury-related expenses, some or all of which you should recover from the at-fault party.
Furthermore, you might miss time at work, or you might even lose the ability to do your job—in which case the court might order that the at-fault party compensate you for your lost income or diminished future potential earnings.
Examples of Types of Recoverable Damages
The following list represents a partial list of some of the types of damages a dog bite victim might recover in their case:
- Lab tests/imaging
- Surgeons’ fees (past and future)
- Doctors’ fees (past and future)
- Ambulance transportation
- Compensation for permanent injuries, scarring, or disability
- Prescription medicines
- Lost income and benefits (past and future)
- Replacement services
- Mobility devices
- Home modifications
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional stress
- Diminished quality of life
Sometimes, a dog bite victim will die as a result of their injuries. If your loved one’s dog bite injuries caused their death, you may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death action to cover funeral and burial costs, as well as damages they might have recovered in a claim, had they survived their injuries. Our attorneys can represent you in this effort.
Investigating Your Case
When you hire our firm, we will launch an investigation to gather evidence that we can use in building your case. Some sources for this evidence may include:
- The dog’s veterinary records
- The dog’s history of attacks
- Copy of the police report
- Testimony from witnesses
- Photos and videos of the dog and/or the attack
- Photos and videos of your injuries
The sooner we begin investigating your case, the more access we will have to vital evidence and clear memories of the events that led to your dog bite.
An Alaska Dog Bite Lawyer Can Fight for Your Right to Compensation
You have already suffered enough with the physical injury and emotional trauma of your dog bite. Do not feel the need to take on the additional burden of financial losses. Let us fight for your right to recover damages after your dog attack.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case review at (800) 816-0755.