Dogs are touted as man's best friends, but an aggressive or frightened dog can easily injure a human. Dog bites can range in severity. The one thing that many dog bites have in common is that they leave lasting scars on the individual who was attacked- both physical and mental scars.
Personal injury lawsuits pertaining to dog bites help victims seek damages for their injuries. Determining whether or not you should file a lawsuit after being bitten by a dog can be challenging, but you can use the following questions to help you make an informed decision.
Did You Report the Incident?
Although it isn't necessary that you report a dog bite if you want to file a personal injury lawsuit, an official report can help you prove your case. Many people contact the police or animal control following any attack involving a dog.
An officer will gather information on both the victim and the dog and compile this information into a report. Courts tend to look favorably on the information contained in police reports and usually don't question its accuracy.
An experienced attorney can help you access any reports related to your dog bite or help you mount a case in the absence of an official report.
Can You Prove Liability?
Just because a dog bit you doesn't automatically mean that the owner of the animal can be held legally liable for the attack. Proving liability is a critical element in any personal injury lawsuit. In order to prove liability in a dog bite, you need to be able to offer evidence showing that the person you are naming in the lawsuit is the legal owner of the dog that bit you.
You will also need to be able to show that the attack took place on public property or on private property that you were invited to. An attorney can help you determine if enough evidence exists in your case to prove liability.
Did You Sustain Serious Injuries?
Dog bite victims who take their case to court are usually seeking financial compensation for their injuries. In order to qualify for financial compensation, you must be able to prove that your injuries were serious enough to interfere with your normal day-to-day life.
Your attorney can use medical records to document the severity of your injuries. You may also be asked to take the stand to explain the impact the dog bite has had on your emotional state. The severity of your injuries will typically dictate the amount of money you are awarded in a dog bite lawsuit.
Contact a personal injury attorney to learn more.