When a dog attacks, it can cause physical, emotional, and financial damage to the victim and those close to them. Those who have suffered bites or other serious injuries may be able to recover financial compensation through a dog bite lawsuit. If you are considering your legal options and are looking for guidance, here are a few of the most common reasons that people pursue these lawsuits.
1. The Risk of Illness Such as Parvo, Distemper, or Rabies
In many cases, a dog bite victim may need to seek medical treatment as a result of the injury. Even if the bite was minor, the attacker might have teeth contaminated with parvovirus, distemper, or rabies. These diseases are highly contagious and especially harmful to canines. Although many dogs receive vaccinations to prevent these conditions, it is possible that the dog that bit you did not receive their vaccines due to age (too young) or other reasons. As a result, the attacking dog could transmit deadly or damaging diseases to your pet or to you.
Parvo and distemper are primarily pet-borne diseases, but rabies is an extremely serious infection that can be transmitted to human beings. Without medical attention, rabies causes rapid mental deterioration and eventually death. Due to modern medical advancements, rabies is more treatable, often resulting in recovery with timely medical attention.
You can receive compensation for medical costs, which were sought both as a precaution and as treatment.
2. Negligence on the part of the owner
Many dog bite cases arise out of a lack of responsibility on the part of the dog’s owner. This could include:
- Homeowner leaving a dog alone without adequate confinement, such as a fence
- Failure to properly leash a dog when in public
- Failure to provide proper dog obedience training
- Failure to have pets fully vaccinated
The outcome of a dog bite case depends heavily on the circumstances, so it is important to know what factors judges and juries tend to favor. Lack of responsibility on the part of the owner is both a reason to seek out a lawsuit and a reason that your lawsuit may succeed, especially if you can prove that the owner knowingly put people at risk in the presence of a dangerous dog. The more negligence that you can prove on the part of the owner, the more likely your lawsuit will be to succeed.
In some cases, the owner of the dog does not accept responsibility for the attack. This lack of acknowledgment and accountability can make it difficult for you to obtain closure for your injuries. Pursuing a lawsuit allows you to obtain justice and closure in these circumstances.
3. Pain, suffering, and medical bills
After a dog bite injury, the costs of medical care can build up quickly, even for injuries sustained that do not cause infectious disease complications. Pain from an animal attack is a viable and just reason to seek out compensation. Judges and juries often award large sums of dog bite compensation for pain and suffering, even if the victim has recovered completely.
One of the most common reasons people seek dog bite compensation is for medical costs. These can add up quickly, especially when dealing with a severe bite injury that requires multiple surgeries. Dog bite victims are frequently forced to undergo multiple surgeries as well as extensive rehabilitation in order to recover from their injuries. Due to the severe nature of their wounds, many victims suffer permanent disfigurement and will never regain their original physical appearance.
In addition to the physical injuries suffered as a result of the attack, dog bite victims often experience significant emotional distress and trauma as well, including anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These conditions can be severe and debilitating and often require extensive medical, psychiatric, or psychological treatment. Don’t be afraid to file a dog bite claim and seek compensation for all aspects of treatment costs. You don’t deserve to suffer financial damage for someone else’s recklessness.
4. Lost income and job opportunities
In some cases, a dog bite prevents the injured person from doing their job. This can lead to lost income during recovery as lost earning potential, which can make it difficult to afford the medical costs related to your injury.
Many plaintiffs feel guilty about pursuing compensation for lost income and job opportunities because they feel that this consequence is only an indirect result of an injury. However, lost earning potential is no joke and can be one of the most challenging aspects of suffering a debilitating injury. Unemployment also increases your stress level, which can worsen your recovery. Owners of attacking dogs should be held responsible for the consequences of their lack of precautionary dog ownership.
5. To pursue compensation for wrongful death
Unfortunately, dog bites are sometimes fatal to human beings. When this happens, family members often seek dog bite compensation for funeral expenses and the loss of love and companionship. The death of a family member or other loved one due to the careless or intentional actions of another can lead to a wide range of intense emotions. Shock, disbelief, and confusion are common at the start of the process. Anger may surface as the case progresses. And sadness typically overtakes you when it comes time to testify or attend a trial.
Whatever your feelings may be in such a tragic situation, many survivors desire to focus on taking action to secure justice for the loss they have suffered.
6. It teaches owners how to raise their pets responsibly
One of the most common reasons that dog bite lawsuits succeed is because the owner did not follow proper precautions. Many owners assume that simply keeping their dog on a leash will cover their responsibilities, but it does not always happen that way. To satisfy liability under common law, a dog owner is responsible for the damages their animal causes. Owners are also responsible for mitigating harm, whether that means reimbursing the victim, restoring property lost in the attack, or caring for collateral damage, such as children who witnessed the strike.
As it is now, many owners do not follow leash laws or proper quarantine procedures when their pets are sick. Dog bite lawsuits can reinforce the need to keep pets away from children and other people, as well as emphasize how to identify dangerous behavior before an attack, and how to properly contain pets when outside. Money awarded from these suits can go toward improving safety at public parks.
7. Benefits to public policy and dog culture
While many states have statutes that outline dog owner obligations, lawsuits can bolster these rules with judges’ rulings and stiffer penalties. Due to increased awareness, states can allocate funds for educating children on how to behave around dogs and keeping streets safe for pedestrians.
Increasing public safety and influencing policy to protect future victims from harm suffered in a dog bite attack are some of the most virtuous reasons that you should seek out a dog bite lawsuit. Sometimes, dog bite attacks can occur more frequently in an area with poor dog recreation infrastructure. For example, a lack of dog parks and rules around dogs in public parks can all cause a higher incidence of attacks. Filing a lawsuit can incentivize fixing these problems.
People who have been bitten can also benefit from lawsuits. Money awarded can go toward hospital costs, physical therapy, and the cost of replacing work or school equipment that was damaged in a violent attack.
Dog bite lawsuits are also used to hold reckless dog breeders accountable for the animals they produce. Despite how popular certain breeds are right now, some still have a high propensity for violent behavior. Successful lawsuits can create media attention around the frequency of attacks attributed to certain breeds and in some cases, statistics gleaned from lawsuits in a particular area may influence the creation of laws around certain breeds.
Getting Professional Legal Guidance
There are various and wide-ranging reasons to pursue dog bite lawsuits, from the pursuit of justice to compensation for personal harm to the betterment of public safety outcomes. Whether your reasons are personal, communal, or both, you should contact the lawyers at Palermo Law Group.
For years, the personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Palermo Law Group have been helping dog bite victims in the state of Illinois, specifically the Chicago area, as they navigate their way toward monetary compensation for their damages. Contact a dog bite lawyer today for a free consultation.