Regardless of the size of the dog, an unexpected bite can cause significant, lasting injuries. In addition to the cuts and bruising common with these attacks, dog bites can also rules in nerve damage, scarring, disfigurement, and even death. While state law provides an opportunity for victims to seek compensation, the process can be challenging without the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney.
Unfortunately, not every dog bite will result in a viable injury claim. To determine if you have a strong case against the dog’s owner, contact an Opelousas dog bite lawyer immediately.
Liability in a Louisiana dog bite case is governed by statute. According to Louisiana Civil Code 2321, an Opelousas dog bite attorney can pursue damages for their client’s injuries against the dog’s owner. In fact, the statute is broad enough to apply to any type of animal and any form of injury. For example, if a horse injures a person by knocking them over, the owner could be liable.
It is worth noting, however, that there are several elements that must be met for a dog owner to face liability. The requirements for a plaintiff to recover damages in a dog attack lawsuit include establishing:
The first element is known as the “one bite rule.” In order to recover compensation on behalf of a plaintiff, an Opelousas dog bite attorney must demonstrate that the owner knew or should have known they were dangerous. To do so, the plaintiff typically must show the dog has attacked someone before. In other words, every dog gets one bite before its owner is held accountable.
There are other hurdles a plaintiff must jump through for compensation, however. Even if a dog owner knew the dog was dangerous, they would not face any liability if they took steps to prevent the attack or if the attack was unpreventable.
There are a host of viable defenses in an Opelousas dog bite injury case. Some of them are written directly into the statute. For example, a plaintiff may not recover any compensation for a dog bite if the plaintiff provoked the dog in any way. Provocation can involve physical acts like throwing rocks or poking a dog with a stick. It can also involve verbal acts like yelling at or taunting an animal.
A dog owner could also limit their liability due to the theory of comparative negligence. Under comparative negligence, a jury may reduce a plaintiff’s potential recovery in proportion to their share of fault for the injury. For example, if a plaintiff is 20 percent at fault for the dog bite, the dog owner is only liable for 80 percent of their damages. An accomplished lawyer could advocate for the injured party to help them recover the compensation they deserve.
If an attack by a dog or other animal has left you with severe injuries, you deserve monetary compensation to aid you in your recovery. However, meeting the requirements of the dog bite statute and establishing damages in these cases can be challenging. To discuss your options, schedule a consultation with an Opelousas dog bite lawyer immediately.