The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about one in 73 Americans suffer at least one dog bite annually. About a million of those bitten require urgent medical care, and some experience life-long pain and suffering after such incidents.
If you or a loved one suffers a dog bite, you have the right to sue for compensation for your injuries and damages, such as the medical expenses or loss of income resulting from your treatment and injury. While some people may not pursue the option, you can sue your friend if their dog attacks you or your loved one.
Premises Liability and Your Rights
If you are a renter or homeowner, you are required to have insurance that covers premises liability. This insurance protects you in case someone is injured on your property. This type of insurance protects others from different injuries, including dog bites. Your friend should also have this insurance.
One of the provisions of such insurance is that you or the other party takes reasonable measures to protect others from dog attacks in or near a property.
In most cases, you will deal with the insurance company if a friend’s dog attacks you. However, you are within your rights to sue for compensation if the insurance company tries to lowball you or get out of sending you a settlement.
Establishing Civil Liability
Although it varies from state to state, several factors can help you establish civil liability that gives you the power to sue for compensation following a dog bite.
One of these is where a dog bite statute applies. Almost all states have liability dog laws that say the owner is responsible for dog attacks, including bites and other injuries. These statutes apply regardless of whether the homeowner was careless and the dog’s history.
You also have a very strong case if you can prove that your friend or the dog’s owner knew the dog had previously attacked people and was aggressive, therefore, could cause injuries.
For example, they could have an overly aggressive dog that bites at everything and everyone. It is reasonable that such an aggressive dog would attack someone, and its owner should know this, too.
Lastly, you can also establish liability if you can prove your friend’s or dog owner’s negligence led to the attack. For example, they might have let their dog off their leash and left their gate open. You must establish that once these things happened, the dog ran out and attacked you.
Because the statutes for establishing liability can vary significantly between states, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer who understands your state’s dog laws. They will help you know which ones apply, help you establish liability, and finally help you sue for damages.
What To Do If a Friend’s Dog Bites You
You should also understand what to do in case your friend’s dog bites you. The first and most important thing to do is seek medical attention immediately. Dogs’ mouths are full of harmful pathogens that can cause severe injuries and even death if not treated immediately.
The two things you should be worried about are rabies and tetanus. You can contact these infections if you have not had a rabies vaccination or tetanus shot recently.
You should also seek medical care immediately if you have significant pain or bleeding. Dog’s teeth are sharp enough to tear through your flesh, and you will be in danger if the bite causes an arterial bleed. Some dogs are also strong enough to break bones when they bite or push you to the ground.
In some cases, you might not know that you have a broken bone immediately due to adrenaline. However, you will feel it in the form of delayed pain as soon as the adrenaline and other bodily chemicals meant to protect you from shock wear off. You might also not know that you have a traumatic brain injury after an attack if you feel and have a delayed headache.
Collect some details so that your lawyer has something to work with once they start the process of filing a lawsuit. Start by giving us your friend’s details, including their name and phone number.
Collect this information even if you do not think you will sue because you might change your mind later when you realize you have injuries that need medical intervention.
You should also collect their homeowner’s or premises liability insurance information if they have it.
Second, you should collect eyewitness information. You will need to back up your claims if the lawsuit goes to court, and eyewitnesses make it much easier to do this. In addition to their names and contact information, you could also get a small recorded statement from them that you can use to refresh their memory because memories fade.
You will need eyewitnesses and their statements if the dog’s owner or your friend denies that their dog bit you. Animal control can also use this information to find the dog if it runs away after attacking you.
Medical bills from the treatment you get after a dog bite can add up fast. You will need to be compensated for this and other damages.
The amount you can get as a settlement will depend on the severity of the injuries you sustained and the effects the attack has and will have on you. For example, you might have broken fingers that do not allow you to return to the work you used to do or do other things you love.
Dog bites are painful and dangerous, especially if you are infected after an incident. You can sue your friend for compensation if their dog bites you. In some cases, you will be compensated by their insurance provider if they have premises liability insurance.
Regardless, you can talk to our attorneys about your case so we can help you start the process of filing a lawsuit.
You can call us now for a free Consultation at (808) 745-1592 if you have been bitten by a dog.
You can also visit our office at 700 Bishop St, Ste 2100, Honolulu, HI 96813 to discuss your case further.