Only you can know if you need a dog bite lawyer. However, hiring an attorney to assist you with your dog bite injury claim has many benefits.
For instance, a lawyer can help you understand your legal rights after a dog attack and ensure those rights are not violated. A dog bite lawyer can also gather evidence, consult medical experts, negotiate with the at-fault party and/or insurance company, and advocate for you throughout your case.
Dog Bite Injury Law in Louisiana
A serious dog bite can dramatically impact the victim’s life. Some dog attacks may even result in the victim’s permanent disability or death. According to CC Art. 2321, a dog owner is liable for a dog bite injuries if:
- The owner knew or should have known that their dog’s behavior would cause harm.
- The owner could have prevented the dog bite by exercising reasonable care.
- The owner did not exercise reasonable care to prevent the bite.
- The bite victim did not provoke the dog.
This law covers all injuries a dog may cause, including bite injuries, scratch injuries, or knock-down injuries.
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A Lawyer Can Help You Demonstrate the Dog Owner’s Negligence
In some states, a dog owner is automatically responsible for dog bite injuries unless the victim was trespassing or intentionally provoked the dog.
However, Louisiana law is founded upon negligence, meaning you must demonstrate that the dog owner knew their dog may injure someone or should have known based on the dog’s past behavior. You must also show that the dog owner could have prevented the attack if they had exercised the appropriate level of care.
Your lawyer can help you demonstrate each of these points. They might use a variety of strategies to do so. For example, eyewitness testimony is often a powerful tool in dog bite injury claims. As such, a witness to the attack can provide insight into the series of events leading up to the attack, as well as what happened during the attack.
Witnesses may also testify to the dog’s past behavior to demonstrate that the owner knew of the dog’s aggression.
How Much Compensation Could You Receive?
The amount of compensation you could receive depends on the circumstances of the case. There is no reliable way to predict the amount of money someone could be awarded without an attorney reviewing the case. Each case is different and can depend on the damages incurred.
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help you seek fair compensation. Each case has different circumstances, and we can review your case to discuss the amount of compensation you could seek.
Calculating Your Past and Future Damages
The term “damages” refers to the losses an injury causes. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim.
A lawyer can help you identify all sources of compensable damages, including past damages and damages you will encounter in the future. Once you know the approximate value of your damages, you are in a position to negotiate a settlement with the dog owner and/or insurance company.
Dog Bites Often Require Expensive Medical Treatment
Dogs are capable of inflicting painful damage to soft tissues and bones. Dog bites often result in:
- Deep lacerations and contusions
- Nerve damage
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Sprains and strains
- Puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Injuries to the head, neck, and face
- Eye injuries
Dog attacks may also cause injuries even if the dog did not bite the injured person. For example, if someone was knocked to the ground by a dog, they may sustain a concussion or back injury.
Your attorney can help you gather evidence, such as medical bills, that proves the extent of your injuries and the medical care those injuries required. Your attorney may also consult doctors, plastic surgeons, or other medical professionals to collect expert opinions about the nature of your injuries.
Psychological Harm May Be as Severe as Physical Injuries
Dog attacks often have a profound psychological impact on the victim. Many dog bite victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mayo Clinic reports that PTSD is characterized by symptoms including:
- Distressing memories and flashbacks of the attack
- Upsetting dreams
- Severe emotional reactions to reminders of the attack
- Avoidance of places or activities that remind the victim of the attack
- Negative changes in mood and thoughts
- Hyperreactivity to stimuli
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
Because psychological and emotional harm is not outwardly visible, it can be hard to prove. Still, your lawyer may be able to demonstrate how the dog attack affected you psychologically.
Lost Income and Impaired Earning Capacity
Your injuries may also have required you to miss work or even permanently impaired your ability to work. If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost income and earning capacity.
Your lawyer can work with financial experts and other professionals to calculate the value of your lost income, reduced earning capacity, and other related damages.
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You Have a Limited Time to Act
Dog bites are personal injury cases. In Louisiana, you have one year from the date of the incident to file a dog bite claim, per CC Art. 3492. If you do not file a claim before the deadline, you will likely not be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys will guide you through the process, so you do not miss any deadlines regarding your case.
What To Do Immediately After a Dog Bite
After a dog bite, you should care for your injuries and ensure the environment is safe. Once you have confirmed the dog is secure and your injuries are stable, gather the following:
- Dog owner’s information: Get their name, address, and homeowners or renters insurance information.
- Witnesses: Collect the names and contact information for any witnesses of the incident.
- Photos of the scene: If you can, take photos of the scene, including your injuries, the dog, damaged clothing, and damaged property. Take photos of anything that might prove the owner was being negligent.
- Documentation: You should keep any documentation related to the case, such as police reports and medical records. Also, ask the owner for documentation proving their dog has received a rabies vaccination.
Next, you should consider working with a dog bite lawyer. Choosing the right attorney to represent you in a dog bite claim is important. At our firm, we have experience in dog bite cases and have helped many clients receive compensation.
Being attacked by a dog can be a scary moment in your life. Our attorneys can focus on the legal process while you recover from your injuries.
Laborde Earle Injury Lawyers Is Experienced in Dog Bite Cases
At our firm, we focus on helping our clients get fair compensation for their injuries. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for legal support. Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined personal injury experience and will advocate for you to recover the compensation you deserve. After a dog has attacked you, we can help you by:
- Reviewing police reports and investigating the incident
- Explaining dog bite laws and providing legal guidance
- Negotiating with the dog owner’s insurance company on your behalf
- Representing you in court if necessary
- Charging no fees until we reach a positive outcome with your case
We are committed to advocating for and supporting you throughout your claim. Our attorneys want you to understand your options after a dog bite injury. Receiving compensation for damages can be an important part of the healing process.
Let Us Advocate on Your Behalf After a Dog Bite
After going through a traumatic ordeal, recovery should be your priority. A lawyer can advocate on your behalf, so you can focus on healing from your injuries. From filing paperwork to negotiating a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company, your lawyer will be a source of leadership and legal support.