While any dog can bite people, especially children, some factors can increase the likelihood of an attack. Owners are responsible for training and caring for their pets, and while there are predispositions of aggression, that does not exempt owners from liability. Factors like health, provocation, heredity, breed, and acclimation to humans can lead to a life-changing attack.
After a West Memphis dog bite, you need to seek medical attention, even if the bite is minor since infection can result. You must also contact a West Memphis personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, to review your legal options.
Injuries from a Dog Bite Attack
Dog bite attacks are avoidable, and victims are left with severe emotional and physical injuries. Dog bite injury examples include:
- Nerve damage
- Deep lacerations
- Soft tissue injuries
- Permanent scars
- Loss of limb
- Facial injuries
Dog attack injuries will result in extensive medical costs that will follow you for years. Permanent injuries have no recovery path, only methods to get to a comfortable place. Do not pay for dog bite medical expenses yourself; instead, file an insurance claim with the negligent party.
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Liability After an Attack in West Memphis
The attack victim must be on private or public property lawfully. Under strict liability laws, the dog’s owner must keep reasonable control of the dog, and if they breach this duty, they are civilly liable for any harm or loss the person suffers. Trespassers are ineligible to recover compensation from a dog bite.
Other exceptions are military dogs, provocation, and if the person was threatening the owner. Additionally, if the dog was in an enclosure at the time of the attack, that is an exclusion. Do not fret about hearing these exclusions because they are rare, and your West Memphis dog bite lawyer can find the best approach and fight against exclusions if they are relevant.
An exclusion uncommon in most states but applies to dog bite cases is residential exclusion, which complicates dog bites at a person’s residence. Guests cannot recover compensation through a homeowner’s insurance policy, but strangers off property have avenues for compensation. However, if you can prove owner negligence, the residential exclusion will no longer apply.
Dog owners must take reasonable steps to secure the dog and prevent them from attacking when provoked. Some essential elements are the owner owed you a duty to restrain the dog, and they failed to do so. Next, the dog attacked, and you suffered harm as a result.
Suppose a dog owner allows the dog to run free in public; that negligence endangers the lives of everyone around them. A dog who escapes the backyard is another example of owner negligence.
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What a Dog Bite Lawyer in Memphis Will Investigate
Dog bite victims assume there is not much investigative research to be done when a dog bites them and they have an injury. However, the legal system is full of complexities. Without proper investigation, you can be susceptible to dismissal or denial. When you hire a dog bite attorney in West Memphis, we will handle all legal aspects of your insurance claim.
During an investigation, we will review all medical records, obtain photos and videos of the attack and handle the paperwork on your behalf. Experts will be brought in to check your injuries and the long-term financial costs. Throughout the process, we will review laws and determine how they apply to your injury.
Once Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC completes the investigation, we will make a demand package to send to the insurance company. They will need to respond with a settlement offer which we will review with you and determine if it is adequate. For complex matters, we are willing to go to trial and fight for the payment you deserve.
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Tips for Handling a Dog Attack
Medical attention is vital to documenting the injury and your well-being since these attacks can lead to infection, and you will likely require rabies or a tetanus shot. One tip to remember is to get the contact information from the dog owner if it is a person you know. Dog bite victims must also file a report with animal control service and the police department, often done when you visit the hospital.
Dog bite victims will also need to take photos and keep all the items related to the attack, like their clothes and medical documents. Most importantly, do not speak to the insurance company without your West Memphis dog bite lawyer present. The renters or homeowners insurance adjuster will try to settle immediately to pay out less for the claim.
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You can legally work with the homeowner’s insurance company, but your payment will be substantially lower than when you work with a West Memphis dog bite lawyer. You will need to consider long-term costs, and you need legal representation that will calculate these expenses.
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The Time to File Is Limited
Personal injury statute ranges, and when it comes to a dog bite injury, you have one year from the attack to file a claim. The exact timeframe also applies to a wrongful death claim—the time frame changes when a child is involved since there are other complexities.
While the statute is one year, there are many processes your West Memphis dog bite lawyer needs to take to build your claim during that year. Find a dog bite lawyer and begin the process as soon as possible.
Hire a West Memphis Dog Bite Attorney
While there are millions of dog bite injuries yearly, there are only about 18,000 insurance claims each year. Many victims take no action against the responsible parties and instead handle the accident out of pocket.
Most often, lack of action results from knowing the person and the dog personally, making it challenging for victims to hire a West Memphis dog bite lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, and get the compensation they deserve for fear of losing a relationship. Remember, renters and property owners pay for insurance to protect them from out-of-pocket costs when something happens on their property, so you are not harming them.