Dogs can be loving, loyal companions. However, they can also be dangerous. Per the Humane Society of the United States, although many municipalities have breed-specific legislation, any dog of any breed is capable of doing harm.
Dog bite injuries can be traumatic, resulting in physical and emotional scars that may take years to heal. In the wake of this devastating incident, you may feel overwhelmed trying to overcome the burden of your suffering as well as costly medical bills. You do not have to navigate this dark period alone. A Michigan dog bite lawyer may be able to offer support in your time of need.
If you or a loved one suffered because of a dog owner’s negligence or recklessness, turn to the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for guidance. This firm does not shy away from tough cases and works on a contingency basis, meaning you will not pay a dime unless you are compensated for your suffering. Call the office at (800) 816-0755 for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team to discuss your case.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can result in serious physical and psychological harm. Depending on the breed and nature of the attack, injuries can range in type and severity from bruises and puncture wounds to broken bones and disfigurement. Post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and intense fear of dogs may result as well. Tragically, some victims die from particularly vicious attacks.
The most common injuries associated with dog bites include:
- Punctures and bruises
- Permanent scarring
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as concussions
- Emotional pain and suffering
It may take weeks, months, or even years to recover from a dog bite injury. Some, such as disfigurement, nerve damage, and psychological trauma, may be permanent. These injuries may require extensive emergency and ongoing medical treatment, including surgeries or physical therapy and counseling. Some victims require long-term assistive care or devices as well, such as a home health aide, walker, or wheelchair.
While these treatments are crucial to healing and moving forward after such a traumatic event, they can rack up thousands of dollars in bills. You may also face financial strain due to lost wages from time you are unable to work because of your injuries. If your wounds are grievous, you may not be able to return to your previous position at all, resulting in a long-term income reduction.
In the aftermath of a dog attack, your priority should be getting better. However, it may be difficult to do so when you are stressed and overwhelmed, faced with seemingly insurmountable financial hurdles. A Michigan dog bite lawyer can assist you in seeking just compensation to help you get back on your feet.
Legal Options for Dog Bite Injuries
Your options for seeking compensation for dog bite injuries will depend on a few factors, including the location where the incident occurred as well as the nature of the attack.
Typically, to be eligible to seek compensation for a dog bite injury, the following must be true:
- The dog bit you. A bite can include instances in which the dog’s jaws clamped down but did not penetrate the skin. It can also include situations where a dog bites something attached to you, such as a piece of clothing, causing you to fall and injure yourself.
- The incident occurred in a public place or “lawfully in a private place.”
- The dog in question was not a police or military K9 carrying out its duties or defending itself against provocative behavior.
- You were not provoking or abusing the dog prior to being bitten.
A lawyer can help you determine the best way to go about seeking compensation for your injuries. In some cases, you will want to seek compensation from the dog owner’s insurance provider. In others, you may need to sue the owner in civil court.
The majority of dog bites occur at home. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly think they cannot sue a friend, family member, or neighbor for a dog bite that occurs on private property. This is not true. While a suit may create tension between the victim and defendant, in most cases, victims do have a right to seek just compensation for their injuries. However, a suit is not always the answer.
You may first try seeking compensation from the owner’s homeowner’s insurance provider. Many policies cover incidences such as dog bites. A lawyer can assist you in filing an insurance claim and negotiating for a fair payout. If necessary, a Michigan dog bite lawyer can also support you in filing a personal injury suit, building a case, and designing a strategy to advocate for a fair settlement or represent you in a civil court of law if necessary.
Responsible dog owners should take reasonable action to prevent their animals from harming others. This may include keeping their dog in a fenced yard or on a lead. Many cities have leash laws to enforce responsible behavior and reduce the risk of bites and attacks. When an owner fails to obey these rules, it may constitute an act of negligence.
In places such as off-leash dog parks or private property, municipal leash laws do not apply. Most dog parks have signs warning patrons that dogs may be off-leash and to enter at their own risk. This does not necessarily waive the owner’s liability if an accident occurs, though.
Even in dog parks and on private property, owners are expected to exercise a certain level of prudence. For example, if an owner knows their pet has a proclivity to provocation or unruly, anxious, or antisocial behavior, they should take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of an incident, such as keeping the animal on a lead or otherwise contained when other people or animals are nearby. Failure to do so may constitute negligence. While negligence is not the only reason an owner may be liable, it is the most common grounds for a personal injury claim.
Typical Damages One Can Claim in Dog Bite Injury Claims
The type and amount of monetary awards, or damages, you seek will depend on the nature and scope of your injuries. Some common types of damages associated with dog bites include:
- Current and anticipated healthcare costs
- Cost of long-term care or assistive devices
- Lost wages for missing work because of your injuries, including hours missed for doctor’s appointments
- Reduced earning capacity if your grievous injuries prevent you from returning to your previous position
- Permanent disfigurement
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Cost of funeral and burial or cremation if a loved one died because of their injuries
Reach Out to Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
Seeking just compensation for your losses following a dog bite injury can involve an intricate, time-consuming legal process. Let an attorney take some of the weight off of your shoulders so you can focus on healing and getting on with your life. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 816-0755 for a free consultation to determine if you have a legal right to seek monetary awards for your losses.