Only you can know if you need a dog bite lawyer. However, there are many benefits to hiring one to assist you with your dog bite injury claim.
For instance, a lawyer can help you understand your legal rights after a dog attack and ensure that 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 have a dramatic impact on 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 dog bite could have been prevented if the owner exercised 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 caused by a dog, including bite injuries, scratch injuries, or knock-down injuries.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
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 that you must demonstrate that the dog owner knew that their dog may injure someone or should have known based on the dog’s past behavior. You must also show that the dog attack would have been prevented if the dog owner 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 in order to demonstrate that the owner knew of the dog’s aggression.
Calculating Your Past and Future Damages
The term “damages” refers to the losses caused by an injury. Through a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.
A lawyer can help you identify all sources of compensable damages, including past damages and those damages which 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 injured person was not bit. For example, if someone was knocked to the ground by a dog, they may sustain a traumatic brain injury 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 that 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 as well. 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 sometimes 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 may have even permanently impaired your ability to work. If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost income and your lost 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.
Let Us Advocate on Your Behalf After a Dog Bite
After going through a traumatic ordeal, your priority should be on recovery. A lawyer can advocate on your behalf so that 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.