Dog attacks can cause serious injuries, require medical care, and have lasting effects. It is smart to contact a personal injury lawyer to help determine if you have grounds to file a legal claim and what compensation you may be owed.
Who Is Liable?
State laws vary regarding dog bites, but the right personal injury lawyer will know the law that applies in your case. In some states, “strict liability” makes owners responsible for all injuries caused by their animals, as along as the victim had a right to be wherever the injury occurred. Other states allow “one-free-bite,” meaning a dog’s owner is liable only if the dog already had bitten someone before.
South Dakota’s rules provide two ways to impose liability on people who own or possess dogs that injure others. First, owners are liable if (a) under all the circumstances, they should have foreseen the injury-causing event if they had been reasonably prudent, and (b) they negligently failed to prevent it. Second, if they knew or should have known the animal had vicious tendencies or abnormally dangerous propensities, they are liable regardless of the degree of care they exercised.
What You Can Ask For
If a personal injury lawyer determines your case is valid to pursue, you can ask for damages related to the following:
1. Medical Bills
No matter who was at fault, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance may pay your medical bills. Beyond limited no-fault coverage for medical bills, homeowners’ policies typically cover additional bills if fault is proven. A personal injury attorney can identify insurance policies that may apply and work to help get payment for all medical bills associated with a dog bite.
2. Lost Income
If you missed work because someone’s dog hurt you, you may be entitled to pay for lost time or income. Your attorney can help get the compensation you deserve, including pay for lost earning capacity if the injury will impair your ability to work in the future.
3. Pain and Suffering
You may be entitled to money to compensate you for all aspects of pain and suffering. Besides physical pain, scarring, and numbness, a significant dog attack can cause post-traumatic stress syndrome.
The owner may eliminate or reduce your claim by contending you were negligent or assumed the risk of injury by:
- Trespassing in a place you were not legally allowed to be in.
- Provoking or threatening the animal.
- Ignoring obvious warnings.
What looks like a simple dog bite case can actually be quite complex. It is always recommended that you seek competent counsel to analyze your situation and determine the best way for you to be reimbursed for expenses and compensated for injuries. Get all the medical help you need, then make your next call be to a good South Dakota personal injury attorney. Contact Turbak Law today by calling (866) 231-0914 for more information.