A dog bite attack can be a terrifying experience to go through, especially if it inflicts severe injuries. If you or a loved one was the victim of a dog bite, you might be eligible to collect compensation and recover your losses. You can work with a Rhode Island dog bite lawyer to help build a personal injury claim and a lawsuit against the dog owner or handler.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we are prepared to investigate who might be liable for your injuries and financial losses, and we are ready to take civil action against them as a way of seeking justice on your behalf. Call our team today at (800) 816-0755 for a free case review and learn about what we can do for your case.
Dog Owners or Keepers Are Liable for Dog Attacks
According to the Rhode Island General Law (RIGL) § 4-13-16, dog owners and keepers are responsible for their dog’s actions. This means that if you were attacked by a dog, the dog’s owner or handler would be liable for your damages. It is the responsibility of the owner or handler to keep the dog on a leash, within the owner’s property, or kept from interacting with others if the dog has a history of aggressive behavior.
This statute also dictates that victims can be nonhuman as well, such as another dog, horse, sheep, or another domestic animal. In this sense, if one of your animals was attacked or killed by a dog, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses.
You and your lawyer can prepare a case to argue that the dog owner or keeper acted negligently, whether their actions led to the dog attack or they failed to prevent one from happening. To do this, you can build your argument on the four elements of negligence, which are:
- Duty of care: The dog owner or keeper had a duty of care to keep their dog from injuring another person or animal.
- Breach of duty: The dog owner or keeper did not keep their animal restrained or within their property, breaching their duty of care. This also applies if the dog owner or keeper purposely provoked their dog to attack.
- Causation: Because the dog owner or keeper did not take measures to prevent a dog attack, you got bitten by their dog.
- Damages: You suffered financial losses related to your dog bite injury.
If the dog that bit you does not have a known owner, that does not necessarily mean your case is over. Our legal team can help you investigate who might be responsible for a stray dog.
Your lawyer may help you contact Animal Control to capture the dog and investigate whether it has a chip in its ear or some other form of identification attached to it. If the dog has a chip, your lawyer may contact the dog owner and notify them of your case. Even if an owner abandons a dog, they may still be held liable for the dog’s actions.
Our Team Can Help You Fight for Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury
You and your Rhode Island dog bite lawyer can work together to calculate your total losses and assign a monetary figure to request as compensation in your demand letter. Whether you are filing for an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to submit evidence to prove your losses, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation treatment bills
- Veterinarian bills, if the dog attacked your animal
- Salary history
Depending on your losses, other pieces of evidence may be submitted to prove your claims. In fact, certain pieces of evidence may be anecdotal or require expert analysis because they may support losses that do not have monetary value, such as pain and suffering, psychological trauma, or loss of quality of life.
For dog bite injury cases, your lawyer may be able to seek compensation awards for the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Physical pain
- Emotional anguish
- Psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other mental health consequences, e.g., depression and anxiety
- Loss of income
- Reduced earning capacity
If a dog attack ultimately killed your loved one, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf if you are a spouse, parent, or child of the decedent. Compensation awards may recover losses, such as funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and loss of companionship, among other wrongful death-related damages.
Dog Bite Victims Have Limited Time to File Lawsuits
Dog bite injuries fall under personal injury law in Rhode Island. Certain civil actions must occur by a legal deadline, or they may get dismissed by the court system. In Rhode Island, the statute of limitations for personal injuries is generally three years after the injury occurred, per the RIGL § 9-1-14. This means that claimants must file their dog bite lawsuits within three years, or they may lose their right to compensation.
Claimants who want to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their loved one also have three years to file.
Let Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Work on Your Dog Bite Injury Case
If you are a dog bite injury victim, you may be entitled to collect compensation for any financial losses you experienced because of the attack. Whether you know the owner of the dog or not, the legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wants to help you with your dog bite injury case. We can help you investigate and identify the liable party.
Call (800) 816-0755 for a free consultation. You can tell us about the dog attack, and we can explain your legal options on how to move forward with your case. We also work with our clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not have our clients pay any attorney’s fees unless we win their case. We are eager to hear from you, so call today to begin working on your case.