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How We Handle Your Dog Bite Claim

A dog bite could be a traumatic experience even if no one got seriously hurt, but what happens when it’s not a near miss? A significant injury could cost you tens of thousands of dollars or more, not counting the potential for lost wages, permanent scarring, and substantial pain and suffering. Pursuing a dog bite claim can compensate you for these significant losses, and hiring an experienced dog bite attorney can make the legal process easier while increasing the chances of getting more money for your injuries.

To find out more about your legal rights and options, call Console & Associates, P.C. at (866) 778-5500 for a free consultation.

Experienced Dog Bite Cases Lawyers

No Fee PromiseAt Console & Associates, P.C., our attorneys have a long history of standing up for the survivors of dog bites. A $125,000 payout for a young dog bite victim with a severed lip is just one example of the animal attack legal claims our team has handled over our decades of experience practicing law. Our dog bite attorneys understand the intricacies of dog bite law and liability, as well as the serious harm—physical and psychological—that can result from a dog bite.

Despite the difficulties you’re facing right now, improvement is possible, and the money our dog bite lawyers get for you can help you afford the care you need to achieve maximum healing. Our No Fee Promise means that experienced legal representation for a dog bite injury claim won’t cost you anything upfront. Pursuing a claim begins with a free, no-obligation legal consultation that allows you to get your questions answered and understand what to expect from the legal process.

What Are Dog Bites?

A dog bite refers to the damage caused by the mouth, jaws, and teeth of a domesticated dog. Bites can come from large dogs and small ones, whether healthy or infected with a disease like rabies.

When a dog bite is serious enough to either require you to undergo significant medical treatment or impact your life—or, more commonly, both—then you might have the grounds for a dog bite claim. This is a civil claim, not a criminal matter, and through your claim, you would be seeking financial compensation. Average dog bite settlement amounts vary by state, but the national average dog bite claim payout in 2020 was $50,425, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Dog bites are distinct from other types of injuries that a dog may cause, such as scratching a person or knocking them down. Although any type of attack committed by a dog could leave a person with injuries—and potentially open up the dog’s owner to legal liability for the damages that result—dog bite law may differ from laws pertaining to other types of injuries related to dogs.

Dog Bites by Severity Level

To assess the severity of a dog’s biting problems, professionals look at wound pathology and use Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale, according to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Under this scale, there are six levels of dog bites.

  • Level 1 dog bites: Sometimes called “pre-bite” incidents, a level 1 dog bite refers to aggressive behavior, such as snapping at the air, that does not include contact between the dog’s teeth and the (human or animal) victim’s skin.
  • Level 2 dog bites: Also known as “near-bites,” level 2 dog bites happen when teeth make contact with skin, but no skin puncture occurs. Injuries, including skin nicks up to one-tenth of an inch deep that result from lateral or forward movements of the dog’s teeth, may still result from a level 2 bite.
  • Level 3 dog bites: A level 3 bite is one in which one to four punctures occur, with none of the punctures deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth.
  • Level 4 dog bites: A level 4 dog bite is a very serious bite in which at least one of the punctures goes deeper into the skin than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. Often, bruising results from the dog biting down and holding on. Lacerations may occur in both directions if the dog aggressively shook its head side-to-side while biting.
  • Level 5 dog bites: A level 5 dog bite incident involves multiple bites in one incident or multiple attacks in which a minimum of two bites meeting level 4 criteria occur.
  • Level 6 dog bites: A dog bite is considered a level 6 bite when it fatally injures the victim.

The dog bite scale is used primarily to assess the dog’s prognosis in terms of potential for future harm and the likelihood of success of bite-inhibition training, not to diagnose injuries or develop treatment plans for the victim.

What Are the Types of Dog Bite Injuries?

Dog bites can cause numerous types of injuries to different areas of the body, as well as emotional and psychological disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Common types of dog bite injuries include:

  • Serious cuts, lacerations, and abrasions that can result in scarring and disfigurement
  • Broken bones
  • Severed limbs and other body parts, or damage severe enough to require medical amputation
  • Eye injuries and vision damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Damage to nerves, muscles, and other soft tissues
  • Infections like rabies, Capnocytophaga, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus

The areas of the body that most commonly suffer dog bite injuries include:

  • Face and head
  • Neck and back
  • Arms, wrists, and hands
  • Legs, ankles, and feet

The costs of treating your injuries and the pain, limitations, and decline in quality of life that your injuries cause you are among the damages for which you can seek compensation in a dog bite claim.

What Are Some Relevant Dog Bite Statistics?

Every year, more than 4.5 million Americans sustain dog bites, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. While the Association of Professional Dog Trainers reported that the majority of dog bite incidents are level 1 and level 2 bites, leaving only minor injuries, that isn’t the case for every dog bite victim.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that almost one in five dog bite victims requires medical attention for their injuries. All told, 800,000 people seek medical attention for a dog bite in the United States, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Based on 2019 data, the likelihood of being bitten by a dog in the United States is 1 in 73, according to Canine Journal, and Petpedia reported that the likelihood of dying from a dog bite is a much lower 1 in 112,400.

What to Do if You Are Bitten by a Dog

It’s difficult to think clearly following the chaos of a dog bite, especially one that results in significant injury. Here are the steps you need to take when you have been attacked by a dog.

  1. Call for help. As soon as possible, make the calls required to bring help to the scene. Calling 911 will enable you to get the police involved, which allows you to document the attack with a police report, as well as give you the chance to request emergency medical assistance. You should also contact your local animal control department.
  2. Take photos and gather evidence. As you wait for help to arrive, gather evidence pertaining to the attack. Take photographs of your injuries, any torn clothing or other damage caused by the attack, the dog, and any visible evidence of the owner’s negligence, or their breach of duty of care (such as a dilapidated kennel or fence from which the dog escaped).
  3. Get the dog owner’s information. While you can pursue a dog bite lawsuit when an animal attack leaves you with injuries, you obviously can’t sue the dog itself. Instead, you would be making a claim under the homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy of the dog’s owner. This means you need the dog owner’s name, address, and insurance information.
  4. Get medical help. Please don’t wait any longer than necessary for medical evaluation and treatment. The sooner you begin receiving care, the sooner your injuries can begin to heal. It also becomes more difficult to treat serious infections if you wait to seek treatment.
  5. Compile all documents and records. Keep a file of all paperwork pertaining to the dog bite, including the police report, any medical reports or evaluations, and your medical bills. Your attorney will draw upon these documents when pursuing your claim.
  6. Contact a dog bite lawyer for a free consultation. Getting the maximum amount of money you’re entitled to necessitates hiring a dog bite attorney. During an initial consultation and case review, a legal professional can answer your questions about the claims process and gather the necessary information to determine if you have the grounds for a claim that’s likely to be successful.

What Do Dog Bite Laws Say About Legal Liability and Compensation?

Generally, dog bite laws allow victims to hold dog owners and property owners accountable for bite injuries. You can file a claim for compensation with the insurance company of the negligent party, seeking monetary damages for physical injuries, medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, future medical costs, lost wages, decrease in future earning potential, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.

Dog bite laws vary by state. For example, some states have a “one bite rule” in which a dog must have a history of biting or aggression for the victim to sue.

Other states, like New Jersey, impose what’s called “strict liability” on dog owners for all of the legal damages that result from their dog biting someone. Pennsylvania imposes strict liability on dog owners for victim’s medical costs only and typically requires claimants to prove negligence if seeking other types of damages. A dog bite attorney can determine what’s required to prove liability for the bite you sustained and get you started on the path to securing compensation.

How to Prove Liability in a Dog Bite Lawsuit

Generally, proving liability in a dog bite lawsuit begins with establishing the dog owner or property owner’s duty of care to protect you from preventable harm, such as a dog bite. You must present evidence of the negligence that constituted a breach of duty of care, which might encompass a failure to keep an aggressive dog safely restrained. Finally, you must prove that this breach of duty of care is what caused your injuries and the other legally recognizable damages for which you’re seeking compensation.

When Should You Hire an Attorney After Suffering a Dog Bite Injury—and Why?

Any person who has sustained serious injuries in a bite from a dog that was not their own should speak to an attorney about their rights and options. A dog bite injury can change your life and pose major physical, emotional, and financial burdens.

The most effective way to get the full amount of compensation you deserve is to hire a dog bite attorney, since research has shown that attorneys get their clients 3.5 times more money than unrepresented claimants get for themselves. Dog bite attorneys with experience in this area of law are uniquely well-positioned to undertake the thorough investigation required to gather dog bite evidence, including asking dog bite witnesses the most important questions.

Why Choose Console & Associates for Legal Representation?

If you want the most money for your claim, you should hire a law firm with a history of recovering above-average dog bite settlement amounts—as our legal team did when we got a $125,000 payout for a young girl attacked by a friend’s dog. Console & Associates, P.C. has represented victims of all kinds of injuries and accidents for more than 25 years, so we know every nuance of the personal injury claims process and what’s required for effective dog bite legal representation. This experience allows us to thoroughly and successfully calculate the full extent of your damages and negotiate a settlement that fully covers your losses.

Pursuing dog bite compensation with us on your side is easy and risk-free. Not only do we handle every step involved in securing your dog bite lawsuit payout, but we also represent clients on a no-win, no-fee basis. You’ll pay nothing for our services unless and until we successfully recover money for you.

What Will a Dog Bite Injuries Lawyer Cost You?

No Fee PromiseUnder Console & Associates, P.C.’s No Fee Promise, you will pay nothing for a legal consultation through which you can seek free legal advice and nothing upfront for legal representation throughout the course of your dog bite claim. You will only ever have to pay a portion of the money we succeed in getting for you, and if your dog bite lawsuit doesn’t result in a payout, you owe us nothing.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Dog Bite Attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C.

Getting a dog bite settlement isn’t as easy as you might hope. You could devote hours to researching the legal process, compiling documentation of your damages, and trying to negotiate a settlement—and, research shows, you would likely still end up with less than an attorney would be able to get clients, on average. Or you could let our experienced professionals pursue dog bite compensation for you while you focus on rehabilitation.

Hiring a dog bite lawyer can bring clarity to a confusing, chaotic situation and a great deal of value to your potential legal claim. During a no-cost, no-obligation legal consultation, you can learn more about what to expect from the claims process and about how the value of your case is likely to compare to average dog bite settlement amounts.

For your free consultation, call (866) 778-5500 or submit our online contact form today.

Dog Bite Claim FAQs

How Bad Does a Dog Bite Have to Be to Sue?

Assuming there is insurance coverage available for your claim, you can sue for any dog bite injury that is serious enough to affect your life. To be able to sue, you will need to have sought medical attention for your injury, and you must be able to document your medical care with medical reports and bills for medical expenses.

You may be able to sue even if your injury hasn’t kept you out of work, especially if it caused you diminished mobility, permanent scarring, or considerable pain and suffering.

Can a Dog Bite Attorney Near Me Get Me Compensation for a Dog Bite?

You aren’t required to hire an attorney to handle a dog bite claim, but there are compelling reasons to do so. For one thing, having a dog bite lawyer allows you to put the demands of the claim out of your mind and focus on getting well without the distraction of managing a legal matter.

Additionally, the Insurance Research Council has reported that attorneys get their clients 3.5 times more money, on average, than unrepresented claimants receive. This means you’re likely to get significantly more money with a dog bite lawyer on your side than without professional legal representation.

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