If you or your child suffered a dog bite, a Lafayette dog bite lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers can help you protect your rights and fight to hold the responsible parties accountable. Choosing a personal injury lawyer from our firm to represent you may put you on equal footing when negotiating a potential settlement with the dog owner or their insurance company.
A legal counselor can help determine the value of a claim to ensure that whatever offer you receive is fair and just. It is essential that any settlement you accept accounts for all economic and non-economic losses you suffered or may suffer in the future. Our team can tabulate a value for your claim and handle negotiations on your behalf.
The Compensation You May Receive After a Dog Bite Is Based on the Damages You Suffered
Our team determines the fairness of a settlement offer by calculating the total value of your damages. You may receive compensation for multiple types of economic and non-economic losses, which are your financial and intangible losses, respectively. Your economic losses may include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Income loss
- Reduced earning potential
- Mileage to go to doctor’s appointments
We can also include any non-economic damages you suffered and assign a monetary value to them. These damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Psychological trauma
- Physical disfigurement, such as scarring
- Permanent disability
We also work with experts to help us understand any related future damages you could face, such as necessary medical treatment or ongoing care and support costs.
For example, dog bite victims may require plastic surgery to improve the appearance and increase the functionality of scarred skin. This cannot occur immediately after the attack, but your settlement should cover related costs.
If you lost a loved one because of a dog attack, we may also include damages related to their wrongful death. These damages can include costs for funeral services, loss of society and companionship, loss of financial support, and pain and suffering experienced by the victim and their surviving family.
Why You Should Consider Hiring a Lafayette Dog Bite Lawyer for Your Case
Our legal team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers handles dog bite injury cases. When you work with us, we’ll take care to explain the nature of your case, including:
- Which laws might affect your case
- Who might be held liable for your damages
- How long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit about your dog bite injuries
Under CC Art. 2321, dog owners are liable for any damages their pet causes with the stipulation that they knew or should have known that their dog would cause harm.
If the owner could have prevented injury and harm by exercising reasonable care, and the dog was not provoked to bite or cause injury, the owner may be found liable for the victim’s damages.
For example, suppose an individual is at a park, and someone else’s dog suddenly attacks them. The victim and their Iberia Parish dog bite attorney could argue that the dog’s owner was negligent for not controlling the dog or for even bringing it to the park if it had a known history of bad behavior.
Our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience representing victims in personal injury cases, including dog bite and attack claims. We work based on a contingency fee, never charging upfront retainers or hourly fees. We only get paid from the compensation we recover on our client’s behalf.
File Your Dog Bite Lawsuit Within the State Deadline
Healing from a dog bite injury can potentially take months or even years. Victims should focus on recovering from their wounds, but they must also understand that lawsuits are subject to strict filing deadlines.
If plaintiffs do not comply with the deadline for filing their case, they may lose the right to seek compensation. Under CC Art. 3492, dog bite victims have one year from the date of their injury to file a claim against the dog’s owner. Hiring a dog bite lawyer in Lafayette could help potential plaintiffs file their cases before the prescriptive period expires.
We understand that you may not know your prognosis or the full cost of your treatment yet, but we want to hear from you. It may be possible to investigate what happened and gather evidence before you reach maximum medical recovery. Your Lafayette dog bite lawyer will not file your claim and begin settlement negotiations until we understand the value of your economic, intangible, and potential future damages.
We Aim to Hold Pet Owners Liable for Their Pets’ Actions
Louisiana law states that to prove the dog owner could have prevented the injuries the dog caused, the plaintiff must show the dog presented an unreasonable risk of harm. In most cases, this requires showing that the owner knew the dog had a history of vicious, threatening, or otherwise dangerous behavior.
This is sometimes called the “one-bite rule” because dogs can essentially bite one person with no consequences, and the owner is only liable for additional incidents. It can be challenging to prove these cases, which could occur at an off-leash dog park, on the owner’s property, or in other locations.
If the dog was not in a dog park or its owner’s yard when the attack occurred, the owner may be found negligent regardless of the pet’s past behavior. This is because Lafayette has leash laws enforced by Iberia Parish Rabies and Animal Control. Under these laws, owners must keep their pets leashed, contained, or under their control at all times. Under these circumstances, negligence occurs if:
- The dog’s owner has a duty to follow the leash law to protect their pet and others.
- They failed to do so, allowing their pet to roam.
- The dog bit another party because it was not under the owner’s control.
- That party suffered physical and emotional injuries, as well as financial losses.
These laws not only cover puncture wounds, torn skin, and other soft tissue injuries, but they also cover other injuries an animal may cause. For example, if a dog attacked someone because it was unleashed and the victim fell, leading to a concussion or bone fracture, the owner may be held liable for these injuries because they should have restrained the dog to avoid an attack.
In most cases, liability for the pet’s actions lies with the owner. When pets are out of control, owners are usually held accountable for the consequences. Our Lafayette dog attack lawyers know how to develop these arguments and support victims’ claims.
When Might Lafayette Dog Owners Escape Liability?
Dog owners may be able to avoid liability for the injuries their dog causes in some situations. Some of the these may include instances of trespassing and provocation.
If the injury victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property or committing a crime at the time of the incident, the injury victim may find it more difficult to get the dog’s owner to compensate them for their damages.
Dog owners only have an obligation to protect invited guests and patrons from their dog when on their property. However, if you were trespassing, the dog’s owner has no obligation to protect you from their pet.
Provocation is common in dog bite claims. If an injury victim provoked a dog into acting aggressively, they could find it more difficult or impossible to win a civil claim against the dog‘s owner. Some examples of behaviors that may be considered provocation include:
- Hitting, kicking, or punching
- Throwing objects at the dog
- Screaming or yelling
- Otherwise acting aggressively towards a dog
Dogs are unpredictable creatures. Although the dog owner is ultimately responsible for their pet’s actions, if someone provoked the dog into acting aggressively or violently, they cannot expect the dog’s owner to cover their damages entirely.
How Shared Fault Could Influence Your Dog Bite Case
Being accused of sharing fault in a dog bite case in Lafayette is more common than you might think. Louisiana operates under a pure comparative negligence system (CC Art. 2323), so sharing fault will not bar you from financial recovery.
However, you may be limited in the amount of compensation you receive. If you share liability, your injury settlement will be reduced to account for your portion of fault. For example, if you were throwing things at the dog before the attack, the judge might find you 25% responsible for causing your injuries. If the court awarded you $250,000 for your damages, your settlement would be reduced by 25%, leaving you with a total injury settlement of $187,500.
This is just one example of how Louisiana’s comparative negligence laws could influence the outcome of your case. These laws are known for being especially complicated. Make sure you understand the implications the state’s shared fault laws may have on your case. Find out more by contacting your Lafayette dog bite attorney to discuss the details of your injuries further.
What to Expect From Your Dog Bite Insurance Claim
The insurance company may fight back when you file a claim for a dog bite. The insurance company will lose money if they have to pay your claim.
The insurer may look for opportunities to reduce their financial liability wherever possible. Protect your compensation by getting a dog bite attorney to negotiate with the insurer for you.
Start Working With a Lafayette Dog Bite Attorney Today
You can pursue a monetary compensation claim against a negligent dog owner if their animal bit or otherwise injured you. We will assess your case and legal options for free today. Call us or complete our online contact form to start working with a Lafayette dog bite lawyer from Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers.