Dog bites can produce serious injuries, some permanent or scarring, both physically and emotionally. The costs for medically treating these injuries can set any individual back financially. Added to the income lost from missing time at work, these damages can leave a dog bite victim deeply troubled.
If you suffered a dog bite in Arkansas, you deserve to receive compensation from the owner of the dog that attacked you. Fortunately, you can demand this compensation, but you will need to meet certain requirements. Navigating a dog bite case in Arkansas can challenge even the savviest individual, which is why many victims of these attacks seek the help of an Arkansas dog bite lawyer.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to tell us about your case and learn how we can help you. We offer a free initial consultation, and if you hire our firm, we do not charge you legal fees unless and until we win a settlement or court award on your behalf. Call us today at (800) 816-0755.
Arkansas’ Dog Bite Laws
Arkansas does not have a dog bite statute, although some counties in the state do adhere to strict liability ordinances that can apply to such incidents.
Beyond Counties with Strict Liability Ordinances
Outside the counties with ordinances, if a dog owner’s negligence leads to their dog biting a human, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit in an Arkansas civil court to recover an award for their losses.
In such areas of Arkansas, strict liability applies when a dog owner knew about their dog’s propensity for vicious behavior prior to the dog biting someone. In these cases, the complainant need not prove that the dog owner’s negligence enabled or caused their dog to bite.
“One Bite” Rule
The state follows the ideals of a “one bite” legal understanding with regard to dog bites. This means that a court can hold a dog owner liable if their dog had previously bitten an individual or otherwise shown a propensity to bite. The state expects a dog owner with this knowledge to take reasonable precautions to protect people from their dog.
As you can see, Arkansas’ legal waters for dog bites can appear muddy, at best, to the untrained eye. For this reason, many people who suffer dog bites in the state seek the help of an Arkansas dog bite lawyer to recover their damages.
Criminal Consequences Under Arkansas’ Unlawful Dog Attack Law
Although Arkansas legislators have not written statewide dog bite laws, the state does enforce criminal laws regulating vicious dog attacks. Under Arkansas Code §5-62-125, if a person negligently or knowingly permits a dog to attack a human, causing the individual to suffer serious injury or to die, the perpetrator can be guilty of an unlawful dog attack. This criminal act qualifies as a Class A misdemeanor if prosecutors can prove the following:
- The defendant knew or should have known about the dog’s propensity to attack or injure people.
- The defendant negligently enabled the dog to attack a human.
- The attack resulted in death or serious physical injury to the victim.
On top of the criminal charges as indicated above, a court can order the defendant to compensate the dog bite victim for any medical expenses they incur from the attack.
What You Need to Prove to Qualify for Compensation
To receive compensation after suffering a dog bite in Arkansas, you can file a personal injury claim. The success of this approach hinges on your ability to prove the dog owner’s negligence. Alternatively, you can file your claim under the umbrella of Arkansas’ “one bite” rule stemming from the state’s Unlawful Dog Attack law. In this case, you will need to prove that the dog showed a predisposition to attack, and the owner knew or should have known about this tendency.
Under the state’s strict liability rules, you do not need to prove the dog owner’s negligence or fault. Certain dog breeds, like pit bulls, qualify as “dangerous breeds” that are considered inherently prone to vicious behavior. If such a dog bit you, a court can hold the owner liable under strict liability rules.
Investigating Your Dog Bite Incident
When you hire our firm to represent you in your dog bite case, we will conduct an investigation of the dog attack you experienced and gather evidence to support your claim to an insurance company or court.
Examples of some of the steps we will take in this investigation include the following:
- Obtain the attacking dog’s veterinary records
- Investigate the dog’s history of vicious behavior
- Interview witnesses
- Review the police report, if filed
- Seek expert opinions from qualified professionals, such as animal trainers
- Compile photos and videos that document the attack, the dog, and your injuries
- Gather medical records related to your dog bite
Our lawyer will also gather evidence to support your claim of damages, including copies of wage statements from your employer (to quantify the value of lost income). We will also seek written reports from experts in the fields of economics, medicine, occupational therapy, and psychology who can give their opinions regarding the extent to which your injuries will impact you well into the future.
Recoverable Damages After an Arkansas Dog Attack
If you file a personal injury claim for your dog bite, the court award or insurance settlement you receive will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries and how they have affected you and will continue to impact you.
Examples of the types of damages you might recover include:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages and benefits (past and future)
- Pain and suffering
If you lost a loved one due to their dog bite injuries, you might consider pursuing a wrongful death action against the at-fault party. Our attorneys can represent you in this effort. We will handle the case with conviction and dignity.
An Arkansas Dog Bite Lawyer Will Fight to Recover Your Losses
According to scientific journal Heliyon, dog bite injuries present a “significant public health issue.” These injuries trigger more hospital emergency room visits than motorcycles, pedestrian accidents, and firearms.
Do not take your injury lightly, and do not feel the need to bear the consequences of your attack alone. Our lawyers will fight to recover your losses and help ease at least the financial burden of your attack.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation at (800) 816-0755.