A dog bite or attack can be traumatic whether or not you sustain a severe injury. That is especially the case for children.
The emotional harm the attack causes can require years of psychological care. If an aggressive dog bit or attacked you or someone you love, you need the guidance of a compassionate civil attorney. Contact a skilled South Bend dog bite lawyer right away to schedule a meeting.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite or Mauling Attack
After a dog bite, there are steps to take to protect your health and legal rights. Those steps include:
Identify the Dog’s Owner
If you do not already know who owns the animal, ask around to find out as quickly as possible. Once you track down the owner, request the dog’s vaccination history records.
Contact Animal Control
Contact animal control to let them know of the animal attack.
Seek Medical Attention
Seek immediate medical care for injuries. Dog bites can be hazardous because they carry a high risk of getting infected.
Take photos and collect any medical statements and bills to verify the injuries occurred if the case goes to civil court. A seasoned South Bend attorney could also assist in conducting interviews and taking witness statements to find out whether the dog has a history of aggressive behavior.
Common Injuries from Aggressive Canines
The most commonly seen injuries South Bend lawyers see from canine bites include:
- Deep lacerations
- Head and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Eye injuries
- Broken bones
- Emotional and psychological trauma
When pet owners do not keep their animals adequately restrained, and other people suffer the consequences, a civil court could hold the owner accountable for the damages.
Recovering Damages After Suffering Injuries from a Dog Attack
The recovery amount after a dog attack will depend on the severity of the injuries. However, courts award damages under the following for this type of personal injury.
- Economic damages — monetary losses, such as current and future medical bills and expenses and current and future lost wages.
- Non-Economic damages — pain, suffering, and mental anguish, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety.
A South Bend dog attack attorney could help calculate total damages and losses.
State One-Bite Laws
The state allows victims of canine attacks to collect compensation for damages from the pet owners. However, the code they follow is the “one-bite law.” The one-bite law means that if the dog owner can prove they had no prior knowledge that the animal is aggressive, the court could relieve them of liability for the injuries. Under state law, a court could only hold a pet owner liable for damages their dog causes if they knew or should have known their animal was aggressive.
There are exceptions to the law for government officials. If a person’s dog bites a person peacefully carrying out official duties, such as police officers or mail carriers, the owner is liable for damages whether or not they were aware the animal was aggressive. In the case of an official, the strict liability rule will apply, which means that regardless of past behavior, the owner is responsible for all damages caused by the dog bite or attack. A knowledgeable lawyer in South Bend could answer questions on state codes and statutes regarding aggressive canine bites.
Meet With a Qualified Dog Bite Attorney in South Bend
Animal attacks can have lasting effects on your life and leave you with physical and emotional damages. If irresponsible pet owners allow their animals to cause harm to others, the injured party could hold them accountable.
Contact an experienced South Bend dog bite lawyer to schedule an appointment. Working with a compassionate and hard-working attorney could help you recover the maximum compensation you need and deserve.