Should you sue the owner when a dog bites your child?
A dog bite lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa from Johnston Martineau, PLLP is well aware of the dangers associated with a serious dog attack. Not only might the victim endure physical injuries, they may also suffer emotionally due to the traumatic nature of a dog attack. Furthermore, the injuries they sustain may last for the rest of their life.
Children are Particularly Sensitive
If you, a loved one, or child suffered a dog bite, please know you are not alone. In fact, approximately 1 in every 700 visits to the emergency room are due to dog bite injuries. The majority of dog bite victims are young males between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. Children at this age are particularly vulnerable to being emotionally traumatized. If your child sustained a serious dog bite injury, our team can help you get compensated for your child’s injuries. We can help you get justice from the dog’s owner if negligence was involved.
Suing an Owner Whose Dog Attacked
Here at Johnston Martineau, PLLP we can offer assistance regarding a dog attack. Call us to speak with one of our attorneys to find out more. We can review your case at no charge to you. If your child was attacked by a dog, a dog bite lawyer in Des Moines IA can fight to recover the costs associated with that attack. Though the dog’s owner or their insurance company may have offered you compensation, it may not be a fair amount when considering the seriousness of the injury.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite
When it comes to dog bites, some people may not be sure of what they should do legally after the incident occurs. Should you talk with an insurance company? Should you hire a dog bite lawyer? What does it take to file a lawsuit? While some people might be hesitant to file a lawsuit after a dog bite because they are concerned that it is dramatic, it can actually ensure that not only do you get compensated for the injuries that you have sustained, but that other people don’t get hurt in the future.
When you are questioning whether to file a lawsuit because a dog bit you, you should speak with an Indiana dog bite lawyer in Des Moines to go over the facts of your case and see what the statute of limitations are in your state. For more information, please reach out to our team today.
Determining the Deadline
It is incredibly important that you follow your state’s guidelines and rules regarding the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Typically, the statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit in your state will be the same as other personal injury cases. For the most part, the deadlines can be a year after the incident occurred or even up to six years. To figure out the statute of limitations in your state, you should contact our team as soon as possible so you are not at risk in the deadline lapsing.
Missing the Deadline
When you miss the deadline, it is likely that the dog owner will ask the court to simply dismiss the case. Unfortunately, there are rarely ever exceptions that happen that make it acceptable to miss this deadline, so a judge will likely grant the other party’s request for dismissal. When this is the case, there are not many legal options left. To be on the safe side, make sure you know the deadlines as early as possible after the incident occurred, and if you choose to pursue a lawsuit, contact a lawyer from Johnston Martineau, LLP to get your suit started.
Liability for Dog Bite Attack
When a dog bites you, the owner of the dog is typically the person responsible for the dog’s actions. Depending on the state, there may be certain rules like the “one-bite rule.” This is when the owner is only liable for injuries caused by their dog (or other animal) if they should have known that their animal would bite someone or is particularly vicious. Additionally, you may not have a solid case if you did anything to intentionally provoke a person’s dog or if you were mistreating or tormenting the dog in some way. When you talk with a dog bite lawyer in IA, we can help you decide how strong of a case you have and what evidence you need.
Dog Bite Injury Compensation
Victims of dog bites, even those who are children, have the right to compensation for their accident damages. (In the case of minor children, their parents or adult guardians will receive and manage any compensation the children receive.) Our team can work with you to determine the extent of your child’s injuries. His or her injuries may include mental and emotional injuries, as well as physical ones. They are considered damages and may be eligible for compensation in addition to these other costs you might face as a result of the dog bite:
- Surgery. A dog bite lawyer in Des Moines may be able to justify costs for anticipated surgeries, in addition to what your child has already undergone for treatment of the dog bite.
- Future, current, and previous medical treatments, surgeries, medications, physical and emotional therapy. If your child is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the dog bite attack, this can be considered an injury as well and may be eligible for compensation. However, an appropriate licensed medical professional will have to confirm that your child is, in fact, suffering PTSD.
- Replacement or repair of physical property damaged or destroyed during the dog attack. This can include clothing, strollers, etc.
- Time off from work for which you lost compensation because you had to take your injured child to doctors’ appointments and other accident-related tasks.
- Disfigurement, scarring, or disability caused by a dog bite. We can explain in more detail about standard values for each type of injury, depending on their severity. For instance, permanent scarring will be worth more than temporary cuts. Any type of permanent injury will be worth more than if the injury is temporary.
Medical Complications Associated With Dog Bites
When small children are attacked by a dog, the area of their injury is usually around the neck and head because they’re closest to the animal’s jaws. Some dogs have a stronger prey drive than others, and some breeds have jaws that lock onto a victim and cause severe damage as a result. A Des Moines, Indiana dog bite lawyer is familiar with a wide range of injuries from dogs. These are some of the most common complications that can result in the wake of a dog bite attack:
- Fatality due to exsanguination (bleeding to death) from avulsions (forcible tearing away of flesh), deep puncture wounds, and lacerations.
- Infection, often caused by aerobic pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus or Pasteurella multocida. Soft tissue infections such as osteomyelitis or septic arthritis are also common.
Disease, such as zoonotic diseases which are transferred from the dog to the human.
- Rabies, but this is very unusual and is more commonly associated with bites from wild animals.
Types of Recoverable Damages
Dog bites can be anywhere from mild to fatal in severity, and the damages range accordingly. After a careful review of your case, we can assess the nature and recognized the value of your damages. Damages that are commonly associated with dog bites include:
- Medical treatment, including future medical care
- Surgery, including plastic surgery and cosmetic reconstruction
- Physical rehabilitation
- Lost wages for time that must be taken off from work during recovery
Recover Your Damages With the Help of a Dog Bite Lawyer
With an experienced dog bite lawyer by your family’s side, you have a higher likelihood of recovering the maximum amount of damages that you’ve suffered. At Johnston Martineau, PLLP we can determine which of your damages is compensable and develop the documentation and evidence necessary to prove the liability of the dog’s owner. Our dog bite lawyer can also file a claim on your behalf, and represent you in all communications with the other party, their attorney, or their insurance company. If they do not offer a fair settlement for your damages, we will be prepared to file a lawsuit against them.
What Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?
If you were recently injured by someone else’s actions, there is probably one major question that is one your mind: What is your case worth? This is a very common question, although this is not a very helpful mindset to have. As always, you can get more information about your case by speaking with dog bite lawyer in Des Moines IA who specializes in personal injury lawsuits. This guide, however, will go over the basics.
The Value of Your Case
Some people see filing a lawsuit as a way to profit. This is absolutely not the goal of a lawsuit. Rather, the point is to be returned to the financial situation you were in prior to the injury. The only way you can receive more money than the amount you lost is if you suffered in non-financial ways.
It is possible to be compensated for non-financial losses, sometimes in huge amounts. However, this is only possible if you suffered some extreme losses. So, the answer to the question, “How much is your case worth?” is the exact sum of all the damages you suffered. A Des Moines IA dog bite lawyer can determine what your losses are based on the details of your case.
Damages are the method used to quantify how much the defendant owes the plaintiff in compensation. As a Des Moines IA dog bite lawyer can explain, there are three types of damages which the judge may assign to the defendant:
- Special Compensatory Damages – This type of damages refer to all financial losses. Essentially, you will receive the same amount of money as you lost. Special compensatory damages in personal injury lawsuits commonly include medical bills, the purchase of medicine and medical equipment, lost wages, or damage to property.
- General Compensatory Damages – This type of damages refer to all non-financial losses. Because these types of suffering do not have an objective monetary value, the judge will be the one to decide what they are worth in compensation. General compensatory damages in personal injury lawsuits commonly include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of ability, loss of mobility, loss of enjoyment of life, or disfigurement.
- Punitive Damages – This type of damage is different from the other two in that it is not a form of compensation. Rather, it is an amount that the defendant must pay the plaintiff as a form of punishment. This type of damage is only assigned when the judges decides the other types of damage are not enough punishment for wrongdoings.
You should not expect or hope to receive a large sum of money from your lawsuit, unless you suffered equally large losses. A Des Moines IA dog bite lawyer will be able to give you a more specific idea of how much your case is worth.
Justice for Yourself and Others
If you, a family member, or child was seriously injured from a dog bite, we may be able to help you collect maximum compensation from the dog’s owner. You may be eligible to recover the accident costs from those responsible. Contact Johnston | Martineau, PLLP to request a free consultation with a respected dog bite lawyer in Des Moines, IA.