IT'S MORE TO US, IT'S PERSONAL
Unleashing Justice: How Your Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help You Reclaim Your Life
Contact an Expert Dog Bite Injury Lawyer for the Compensation You Deserve
More than 30,000 years ago, wolves began to share the hunting trail with humans, venturing into camps and villages for food and warmth. Over thousands of years, mankind domesticated the friendliest of these wolves into steadfast guardians, livestock herders, hunting allies, and faithful companions. Today, search-and-rescue dogs save hundreds of human lives every year, and approximately 500,000 service dogs guide Americans with disabilities through the day and night. When the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11, dogs made up over 300 of the nearly 10,000 rescue workers who launched into action that day. For their protective nature and unconditional love, dogs have long been considered “man’s best friend.”
While dogs parallel the usefulness and loyalty of their ancient ancestors, they also share their unpredictable nature, driven by instinct as well as training. Every dog has some form of prey drive, and children often fall victim to attacks from dogs with higher levels of predatory aggression. Prey noises, like high-pitched squeals and baby cries, can trigger an instinctual, fatal attack. Of the nearly 4.7 million people attacked by dogs each year, more than half are children under ten.
For adults and children alike, dog bites are far more than just painful experiences. They can lead to lifelong physical injuries, disfigurement, psychological trauma, and costly treatment bills. If the attack was mentally or physically disabling, your ability to work may have been affected, causing financial strain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life. In times like these, it's important to remember your rights - you deserve the compensation you need to heal from your injuries and recover your life. Our dog bite injury lawyers have seen cases like yours before, and are prepared to navigate any legal complexities on your behalf, so you can focus on recovering from your attack. We guarantee that your attorney will provide you with the highest standard of representation, ensuring your voice is heard and your needs are met.
Understanding Dog Bite Lawsuits: We Target Insurance, Not Individuals
We understand that many dog bite scenarios involve a neighbor, possibly even a friend. Understandably, this circumstance can lead to hesitation to file a lawsuit. However, we want to reassure you that by seeking justice, you aren't attacking your neighbor's personal finances or damaging your relationship. Instead, the aim is to hold the homeowner's insurance company accountable. At Wettermark Keith we go after the insurance provider of the person involved - never their personal assets. Our goal is to ensure you obtain the necessary compensation to recover from your injuries without compromising your personal relationships.
Know as well that this is not about blaming the dog for the attack, but about seeking accountability. In many cases, the root cause of a dog bite incident lies not with the animal itself but with the way it has been raised, trained, or supervised. The prevention of further dog bite incidents requires local authorities to evaluate the situation - this process may include a review of the dog's history and behavior, mandated obedience training, stricter supervision requirements, or finding the dog a more suitable home. Contrary to popular belief, a single bite will not typically lead to euthanasia.
The Role of a Dog Bite Lawyer: Quality Representation, Excellent Results
Personal injury lawyers who handle dog bite cases understand the delicate balance that often must be struck between asserting the victim's rights and maintaining their friendship with the dog owner. In this emotionally charged situation, a compassionate and experienced attorney with an understanding of the complexities involved in a dog bite case can provide invaluable guidance and support to the injured victim.
How Can an Attorney Help Me After an Attack?
Your attorney will be your relentless advocate in your fight to secure fair compensation that covers your medical expenses, loss of income, emotional distress, and any other consequences of the attack. They will utilize their expertise by gathering evidence, consulting with medical experts, negotiating with insurance companies, and if necessary, presenting a compelling case on your behalf to the court.
Below are six of the most important advantages Wettermark Keith attorneys can offer you during this process:
Our lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of the law and regulations surrounding dog bites and personal injury and are fully up-to-date with all local, state, and federal law that governs dog ownership, dog attack liability, and compensation for victims of dog bites.
Our lawyers will conduct a thorough investigation on behalf of their clients to gather substantial amounts of evidence concerning the dog bite, including witness statements, medical records, photographs of the victim’s injuries, and any relevant documentation. This evidence is crucial in building an airtight case.
Our attorneys have access to a vast network of experts, including medical professionals, veterinarians, dog behaviorists, and accident reconstruction specialists. These experts can provide valuable insight and testimony that may strengthen your dog bite case.
One vital aspect of a dog bite lawyer's role is the assessment of liability. Your attorney will use any evidence available to determine who should be held legally responsible for the attack. This may include the owner of the dog, the property owner, or even a third party responsible for the animal’s care.
Your lawyer will use their legal and interpersonal skills to handle any negotiations, settlement discussions, or communication with the court on your behalf. If your case goes to trial, they will work tirelessly to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, build a compelling argument, and advocate for your right to fair compensation.
Insurance companies often attempt to reduce or deny a valid claim on invalid grounds. Your personal injury attorney can handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring you are treated fairly and obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. This may include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress, rehabilitation costs, and future medical care.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer After a Dog Bite?
Wettermark Keith operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing out of pocket. Any legal fees and associated costs will be collected from your winnings at the conclusion of the case. If your attorney is not able to obtain a verdict or settlement for your bite or attack, you will not be charged any legal fees whatsoever.
Dog Bite Injury Law Explained
Dog bite law is incredibly complex and varies wildly by state. While there are some general principles that apply broadly, each state has its own specific laws and regulations that deal with dog bites. Furthermore, local ordinances can also influence dog bite laws. Some cities or counties have their own rules regarding leash laws, enclosure requirements, and other factors that could potentially influence a dog bite case. In some jurisdictions, specific laws are in place for certain breeds considered 'dangerous’ for their tenacity and bite strength, such as rottweilers and pit bulls. Owners of these dog breeds may be held to a higher standard of responsibility.
The main laws that govern dog bites generally fall under two categories: owner liability and strict liability. These laws address both the responsibility of the owner and the compensation available to bite victims.
Proving Liability After a Dog Attack
Understanding the nuances of dog attacks and owner liability is critical in determining the right course of action and the amount of compensation you’re eligible for. In proving liability, your attorney will take into consideration both whether the dog owner was aware of their pet’s aggressive behavior, and if they took reasonable precautions to prevent an attack. This could involve examining the dog's history of behavior, the owner's actions to control the dog before and during the attack, and any prior incidents. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate these factors - alongside witness statements, medical records, and photographs of injuries - to build a strong case for the compensation you need to recover physically and financially.
What Damages Can I Claim?
You may be entitled to various forms of compensation, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress, rehabilitation costs, and future medical care. A dog bite attorney will help you understand the potential compensation available in your case. The most common forms of compensation include:
Underlying Triggers: Understanding the Common Causes of Dog Bites
Education and awareness of the common triggers for dog bites can help you avoid painful and tragic circumstances. Below are the most common underlying triggers that may lead a dog to bite:
Fear - like humans, dogs have a built-in fight or flight response. When a dog feels threatened or cornered, it may react aggressively to protect itself.
Territorial behavior - while this is especially common around food and toys, dogs often consider their home and immediate surroundings to be their territory and may attack anyone they perceive to be a threat to their space.
Illness or pain - Even an ordinarily gentle dog might bite if it's experiencing pain or discomfort resulting from an injury, sickness, or underlying medical issue.
Protectiveness - for more than 30,000 years, dogs have been protective by nature. If a dog perceives a threat to their canine or human family, it may bite to protect them.
How Can I Avoid a Dog Attack?
Dogs bite when threatened, startled, or teased, and preventing dog bites involves understanding dog behavior and respecting their boundaries. However, it's important to remember that if you were attacked by a dog, you are not to blame. The responsibility lies squarely with the pet owner to ensure their dog is well-trained, socialized, and properly supervised.
That said, below are some of the most effective ways to avoid a dog attack:
Gain a thorough understanding of dog behavior and their natural instincts.
Avoid direct contact with unfamiliar dogs, particularly in the absence of their owner.
Do not attempt to pet a dog without letting them sniff you first.
Understand that dogs are often territorial, particularly around their food or puppies.
Avoid direct eye contact with a dog - they might interpret it as a threat.
Avoid making sudden or loud noises that could startle the dog.
Do not disturb a dog that's sleeping, as this may provoke an attack.
Common Injuries Associated with Dog Bites
Dog bites can result in a range of injuries, from minor cuts and abrasions to serious wounds requiring surgery. In extreme cases, the force of a dog's jaw can fracture bones or cause other serious physical injuries. This is particularly true for larger, more powerful breeds. Infections are also a serious concern - bacteria from a dog's mouth can result in conditions such as cellulitis or more serious infections like sepsis. If a dog bite damages nerves, it may lead to long-term sensory changes or mobility issues.
Furthermore, the psychological impact of a dog bite should not be overlooked. Victims, especially children, can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and fear of dogs (cynophobia) which may require therapy or counseling.
The most common injuries associated with dog bites include:
Deep Cuts and Wounds
Soreness and Mobility Issues
Disfigurement and Scarring
What Should I Do Immediately After a Dog Bite Incident?
If you've been bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately after the incident to address any injuries. A dog bite can result in severe complications - including infections, nerve damage, and scarring - and requires prompt care. A medical professional will evaluate the bite injuries, provide necessary treatment, and document the extent of your wounds.
Once you are in a safe environment and have received medical care for any injuries, gather as much information as possible about the dog, its owner, and any witnesses present at the dog bite incident. Obtain the dog owner’s name, contact information, and details about their homeowner's or renter's insurance. If there were witnesses to the attack, obtain their names and contact information as well.
Furthermore, taking pictures of your injuries is crucial for documenting the immediate aftermath of the dog bite. Take detailed pictures of the bite from multiple angles. These photos will serve as crucial evidence in your case.
Your final step - contacting a dog bite attorney - will determine the success of your case. A dog bite attorney with the right combination of skills and experience will be well-equipped to guide you through the legal process. They will review the details of your injury case, assess liability, gather vital evidence of the attack, and provide valuable advice tailored to your situation. The sooner you consult with a dog bite injury attorney, the better they can protect your interests and build a strong case on your behalf.
Reporting a Dog Bite Incident
When a dog bite occurs, it's vital to report the incident to your local health department or animal control agency. This is necessary to track the animal, verify its vaccination status, and potentially quarantine it for observation.
More importantly, an official report is often needed if you decide to file a lawsuit after a dog bite injury. It provides evidence of the incident that can greatly strengthen your case. Ensure that the report includes specific details about the occurrence, such as the circumstances of the bite, a description of the dog, and contact information for any witnesses.
Why Trust Wettermark Keith For Representation?
At Wettermark Keith, our skilled dog bite lawyers combine expertise in dog bite law with compassionate service. We understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll of a dog bite, especially when the owner of the dog is a friend or family member. Our firm is here to help navigate these challenging circumstances while advocating fiercely for your rights.
Wettermark Keith, with offices located throughout Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, has an excellent reputation as one of the most accomplished personal injury firms in the country. Our reach is not only regional but includes a diverse range of practice areas, including premises liability law, personal injury cases, auto wrecks, trucking wrecks, insurance dispute claims, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, on-the-job injuries, social security disability, and veterans’ disability claims, to name just a few. At Wettermark Keith, we believe in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. Winning cases isn’t our goal - caring for you is. Winning is just how we show it. As we say, It’s more to us, it’s personal.
Call Today for Compassionate Representation
If you or a loved one are dealing with the aftermath of a dog attack, we encourage you to reach out to Wettermark Keith as soon as possible. Your attorney will advocate for your needs until you receive the justice you deserve and the compensation you need to recover your life. Don’t hesitate to contact Wettermark Keith law firm at (877) 715-9300 or through our website chat or online form to set up a free consultation with our legal staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even if the owner of the dog doesn't have insurance, you may still have legal options. A dog bite attorney can explore alternative avenues for compensation, such as homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance, or pursuing a claim against other responsible parties.
Yes, you may be able to file a lawsuit if the dog bite occurred on another person's property. Property owners - like pet owners - have a responsibility to ensure the safety of visitors from accidents and attacks. If they failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent a dog bite injury, they may be held liable.
The statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit can vary depending on your state and jurisdiction. It's important to consult with a personal injury attorney promptly after the incident to ensure you don't miss any applicable deadlines.
In some jurisdictions, if you contributed to the incident in any way, your compensation may be reduced or eliminated. However, the specific laws regarding a dog bite injury can vary. A dog bite lawyer will carefully evaluate the circumstances of your case and advise you accordingly.
While it's possible to handle a dog bite case on your own, it's highly recommended to consult a legal professional to increase your chances of success. Your personal injury lawyer will have the expertise, resources, and negotiation skills necessary to both protect your rights and maximize your compensation.
You may be entitled to compensation for various damages after being attacked by a dog, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and emotional distress. Consulting with a dog bite lawyer will help determine the specific damages you can seek based on the severity of the dog bite and the circumstances of your case.
It's common for dog owners to deny liability for a dog bite injury, but that doesn't necessarily absolve them of responsibility. Your attorney will investigate the bite, gather evidence, and work to establish liability based on negligence or strict liability laws in your state.
The majority of dog bite cases are settled out of court through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will prepare to take your case to trial to fight for your rights.
The absence of a prior history of aggression or bites does not necessarily absolve the dog owner of liability in every state. Strict liability laws may apply, holding the owner responsible for the actions of their dog regardless of prior behavior.