Category Archives: Dog Bite

What Happens if a Dog Bite Gets Infected
Dog Bite

No matter the size, all dogs have the potential to bite. Dog bites can get infected, especially if you do not wash the wound afterward. When a dog bites a person, their teeth pierce the skin and can transfer bacteria from the dog’s mouth to the person. The bacteria can cause infections like tetanus, rabies, or sepsis. If left untreated, the infection can become severe and even life-threatening. It is essential to seek immediate medical attention when a dog has bitten you due to the risk of the wound getting infected. Most dog bites happen on the person’s hand or arm and carry a higher risk of infection. Even after medical treatment, it is important to keep an eye on your bite wounds, especially if it is a deep wound or if the dog is a stray. You can still be at risk of infection. If the infection spreads to the rest of your body, you will need immediate medical treatment such as antibiotics or vaccinations.

When To See a Doctor and Diagnosis

A person should see their doctor for a dog bite immediately. The doctor may ask questions about the incident, what kind of dog it was, and other information pertinent to the bite. A doctor will then perform a physical examination of the wound to look for signs of infection. If the doctor has concerns about more severe infections, they may order additional tests. For example, they may order an X-ray to examine the bones for signs of infection, or a blood test to check for signs of sepsis. If they are concerned that the person may be at risk of rabies, they will treat it immediately with prophylactic antibiotics.

Dog Bite Infection Symptoms

Even if you have washed your dog bite, the wound is still at risk for infection. Some minor injuries may be treated at home, but it is always best to see a doctor following any dog bite, big or small. If you notice redness, swelling, inflammation, or pain around the site of your dog bite, it is important to notify your doctor immediately, especially if these symptoms remain after 24 hours. Other signs that can indicate that your wound has become infected are:

  • Blisters around the bite wound within hours of the bite
  • Redness, swelling, draining pus, or pain at the bite wound
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea and/or stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache and/or confusion
  • Muscle or joint pain

Complications That Can Result From a Serious Dog Attack

Due to the bacteria present in a dog’s mouth, even a seemingly uncomplicated bite could lead to major health problems. The rabies virus or bacterial infections from Capnocytophaga can be transferred from dogs to humans through saliva- and in the case of Capnocytophagaillness can even result from proximity to an infected dog. A dog bite wound is a potentially life-threatening injury, with complications that may include:

  • Broken bones
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Gangrene
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation
  • Sepsis
  • Death

If left untreated, the bacterial infection from a dog bite might spread to other areas of the body and lead to sepsis, which can become fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three out of 10 people die from a serious dog bite infection.

Can You Sue for Damages After a Dog Bite Incident and Infection?

An individual who sustains a dog bite may be able to file a claim for their injuries and damages under the law. The laws on dog bites and liability vary in each state. However, in most states, dog bites are strict liability cases. Strict liability is when the owner of a dog is automatically liable for the injuries caused by their dog if they bite and cause injuries outside of a few exceptions. Exceptions to dog bite liability statutes often apply in cases where an individual provoked the dog or was on the property of another without their consent. Some states may have first bite allowances where the statute requires that an owner be aware of the dog’s vicious tendencies before becoming liable for the harm the dog causes. However, in several states, any time a dog attacks and causes an injury through a bite to a victim, the owner is responsible for the damage the pet causes. While a lawsuit may seem like what might make the most sense for seeking compensation as a dog bite accident victim, the reality is that in most cases, a victim can seek money through an insurance claim. Many property insurance policies, such as homeowner’s and renter’s insurance, cover dog bites to guests on the insured’s property.

What Compensation Might You Recover After a Dog Bite Injury?

Establishing the damages of a dog bite injury, including an infection, may be more difficult than expected. Figuring out what you can claim as part of a dog bite damages insurance claim can be challenging. First, insurance companies will not tell you what you can claim as a loss. Furthermore, having the right to file a claim does not mean the insurance company will approve the claim or pay a fair value for your losses. Dog bite lawyers know the laws that apply in each state and the process of filing a claim for you for the maximum damages available. Should you decide to hire a dog bite lawyer, they will help you calculate your damages and gather the evidence necessary to prove those damages through a claim or in court if necessary.

Examples of damages that may be available in your dog bite claim include:

  • Medical expenses for treating your dog bite, any infection you develop, or other complications
  • Income losses, including future impacts on your income and earnings
  • Compensation for your pain and suffering, including mental and emotional distress and your physical pain

Reduction of quality or enjoyment of your life due to disabili

Dog Bite
Dog Bite

Homeowner’s Insurance is meant to provide financial protection in the case of unexpected events. If your dog were to bite someone who does not live in the home with you, like a friend or neighbor, the liability coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy may extend coverage to help cover the claimant’s medical costs, in the event you are found legally responsible for their injuries. Some homeowner’s insurance policies do not apply to certain breeds of dogs (pit bulls, rottweilers, etc.). Other insurance companies offering homeowners insurance policies may look at each dog on a case-by-case basis and determine if the dog is dangerous.

If a claimant has minor injuries, the medical payments coverage contained in your homeowner’s insurance policy could be accessed to compensate the claimant for medical bills they accrued anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the specific terms of your policy. Some insurance companies may even cover psychological counseling for the claimant, if they suffered trauma as a result of the dog bit. If the claimant’s alleged injuries exceed the limitations set forth in the medical payment’s coverage of your homeowner’s insurance policy, then your personal liability coverage may be triggered. With much higher limits, usually ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, personal liability insurance has a greater capacity to help resolve high-cost claims, especially if there are multiple claimants involved.

When Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Dog Bites

Dog bite liability insurance coverage can be accessed to help pay for claims alleging bodily injury and/or property damage to another party. Below are some common dog bite situations where your homeowner’s insurance policy could be accessed by a claimant.

  • Your dog bites a guest: The medical payments or liability coverage portion of your homeowner’s insurance policy could be utilized to pay for related expenses, in the event your dog bites a guest in your home or property and that bite results in an injury, or injuries. Your policy may also cover legal fees, in the event a claim cannot be resolved via settlement and escalates to litigation.
  • Your dog bites someone away from your home: Standard homeowner’s insurance coverage will generally extend to dog bites that occur away from your property. However, some policies may limit coverage to incidents happening on your premises. This is why you need to make sure you review your homeowner’s insurance policy and check with your insurer.
  • Your dog causes damage to a third party’s property: Dog liability insurance coverage may also apply to incidents wherein your dog tampered with, or damaged, someone else’s belongings, including personal items.
  • Your dog bites another dog: Homeowner’s insurance policies may also cover related expenses if your dog bites another dog not living in your household.

When Does Homeowner’s Insurance Not Cover Dog Bites

Below are some scenarios in which your homeowner’s insurance company may refuse to cover, or contest, a dog bite injury claim.

  • You have prior claims for dog bites involving the same dog: If your dog was initially covered, but multiple claims have been filed for incidents involving the same dog biting people, then your homeowner’s insurance company may decide to refuse coverage for future claims.
  • Your dog is on the list of excluded breeds: Insurance companies often maintain a list of breeds considered of “high risk” for aggressive behavior and exclude them from coverage.
  • You did not disclose your ownership of a dog, or dogs, to your insurance company: When you apply for homeowner’s insurance, the company will typically ask if you own a dog and, if so, what breed. If you failed to disclose that you own a dog, or dogs, or were not truthful about the breed, then claims related to a dog bite injury could be denied.
  • You intended for your dog to bite another person: If you intentionally provoked your dog to bite someone or were otherwise involved in creating the circumstances leading to the bite, your claim would likely be denied (meaning you could be held personally liable for the dog bite claimant’s injuries).
  • Your dog bit you or somebody else living inside your home: In general, homeowner’s insurance will not cover any injuries to household members. You will need to rely on your health insurance for coverage.
  • A dog bite claim exceeded your policy’s limits: Most homeowner’s insurance policies have a cap on liability coverage. If the claim seeks an amount in excess of your insurance coverage, there is the possibility you could be held responsible for the difference. Whether the claim will hit the cap on liability coverage typically depends on the amount of medical bills, legal fees and any settlements or judgments from a dog bite.

Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Renter’s insurance, like homeowner’s insurance, covers dog bites as well. You may want to pay special attention to the conditions of your policy when it comes to renter’s insurance. Unlike homeowner’s insurance, renter’s insurance protection may be confined to the walls of your apartment or the complex. That means if you are taking your dog out for a walk, your renter’s insurance policy likely will not cover you for liability in the event your dog bites someone while beyond the confines of your residence or apartment complex. Of course, this can vary from insurance company to insurance company, so call your insurance provider if you are unsure of the limits of your policy.

Which Breeds Are Excluded From Coverage?

Within most insurance companies, specific breeds are excluded from homeowner’s insurance because they are considered possibly dangerous. Some of these breeds are:

  • Pit Bull
  • Siberian Husky
  • Rottweiler
  • Staffordshire Terrier
  • Chow Chow
  • Mastiff
  • Presa Canario
  • Great Dane
  • Akita
  • Doberman Pinscher

The excluded breeds will depend on the insurance company, while some may not have any exclusions. Some companies might even evaluate your pet to see if they can provide animal liability coverage or not. They will commonly check your dog’s biting history as well.

State Laws Limiting Breed Restrictions

Some states have laws that prevent dog breed restrictions in homeowner insurance coverage. Insurance coverage issues are generally resolved by contract law. Courts look at the policy terms. However, states do regulate insurance companies. It is important to their citizen’s public interest. Critics say breed discrimination is inaccurate and unclear since the type of dog is difficult to determine. This is especially true for mixed-breed dogs. Some states, like Michigan, Illinois, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania agree. These states have specific laws that prevent dog breed restrictions in homeowner’s insurance policies. Other states prohibit municipal breed bans on a city level. This is to combat breed-specific legislation. It means a state does not allow a city to ban specific breeds. Arizona and Connecticut are two states to do this. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) federally prohibits dog breed surcharges for assistance animals. That law applies to homeowner insurance and renter’s insurance.

Understand Your State’s Dog Liability Laws

Most states implement one of three types of liability laws for dog bites:

  • Dog bite statutes: In states with specific dog bite statutes, you would be at risk of being held liable for any type of injury or property damage your dog causes, based upon the scope and language of the applicable dog bite statute. Although many of these state laws refer to dog bites, they generally include all types of dog-inflicted injuries. This means if your dog bites someone, the bitten party can file a claim against you in civil court seeking monetary damages.
  • One-bite rule: In a state that adheres to the “one bite” rule, you would only be legally responsible for an injury caused by your dog if the claimant has evidence that you knew, beforehand, that your dog was aggressive or prone to causing injury. If this is your dog’s first bite and there is no history of your dog acting aggressively, then there is a possibility you may not be held liable in a dog bite injury claim.
  • Negligence laws: In states that adhere to standard, or traditional, negligence theory, then you would only be at risk of being held liable if the claimant’s attorney can prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that you acted negligently or carelessly (e.g., not taking proper steps to control your dog) and that negligence or carelessness proximately resulted in the dog bite injury.
dogbite cover
Dog BitePersonal Injury

Dogs are notoriously known for being man’s best friend. However, they can sometimes become your worst nightmare. When a dog bite happens, your life can immediately change. Your trust in all other dogs can be jeopardized as well as your ability to physically function the way you did before the dog bite.

Over 4.5 million dog bites happen each year, with 1 of 5 bites becoming infected. These injuries can also be life-threatening. If you are bitten by a dog, you may want to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries and to punish the dog owner for their negligence.

Here are 5 key elements of winning a dog bite case:

dog bite wound

Common Injuries from Dog Bites

Before you file a dog bite lawsuit, you must consider the nature of the injury. The most common injuries from dog attacks include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Skin lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Puncture wounds
  • Abrasions
  • Eye injuries
  • Nerve damage
  • Tendon damage

If you were bitten by a dog and the injury, it is time to start looking for a dog bite lawyer.

5 Keys to Winning a Dog Bite Case

When you are ready to file a lawsuit, it is imperative to prove your case that the dog owner owes you financial restitution for your harms and losses.

Here are the 5 keys to winning a dog bite case:

dog bite evidence

Collect evidence

Before you embark on your legal claim, you must first begin to collect the evidence. The evidence must detail the dog’s behavior, in addition to videos and photograph proof of the injuries.

After the bite has happened, take pictures of everything, including any visible bodily injuries, the dog who attacked you, and the surrounding areas. Look for a hole in a gate or fence if you believe that the dog got loose from its property. Note if the owner was present and if the dog was on a leash or not. Also of note is documenting whether or not the behavior of the dog seemed

Seek medical treatment

Not only do you need to get medical help after a dog bite for your own safety, but it is essential to your legal case. Ensuring that the wound does not become infected or that further severe results happen is important..

The next step is to retrieve the medical documents that show the treatment, expenses, and future needed treatment and expenses in order to properly recover. These documents are crucial to substantiating your damages claim in a dog bite injury case.

dog bite eye witness

Obtain eyewitness accounts

If anyone witnessed the dog bite and injury, you need their help. Reach out and try to obtain a statement as soon as  possible. If they are not willing to provide a statement, they could still be called to testify at trial (if your case goes to court).

If you required an ambulance to transport you to the emergency room following the attack, retrieve their contact information to discuss the nature of the scene from their viewpoint at a later time. Document all of their statements to add to your legal file for your dog bite attorney to review.

Prove negligence occurred

One of the most important aspects of winning a dog bite case is to prove negligence. In order to prove negligence in a dog bite case, you must prove the following by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • Legal duty of care
  • Breach of duty of care
  • Breach caused injuries
  • Injuries resulted in certain damages

If all of the aforementioned are provable, you may have won your case. The dog owner has legal responsibility and duty of care to prevent any injury or issue from their dog. This can include but is not limited to:

  • Keeping the dog on the property by the use of fences or gates
  • Using a muzzle or a leash when off of the property
  • Following all local animal control ordinances
  • Monitoring the dog when other people are around
  • Getting involved if the dog shows aggressive behavior

If the dog owner did not display the proper duty of care regarding their dog, and the dog injures someone, they may be held liable. This entails them providing financial restitution for your harms and losses, which may include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Potential cost of future medical bills
  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of work
  • Pain and suffering
  • And more
Dog bite laws

Hire a dog bite lawyer

Another key consideration when filing a lawsuit against a dog owner is  hiring an injury attorney. You may be entitled to significant economic and non-economic damages stemming from the dog bite injury.

Winning a dog bite case can be complex, which is why it is imperative to hire an experienced and knowledgeable dog bite attorney. You can maximize the chance of winning the case by hiring the right legal team to represent you in:

  • Organizing the sequence of events
  • Collecting evidence
  • Obtaining witness statements
  • Negotiations with the defense attorney
  • Negotiations with the insurance companies
  • Provide support for you throughout the case
  • Prove negligence
  • Evaluate the compensation you may be entitled
  • And more

It is crucial to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Statutes of limitations are in place, and if you wait too long, you may lose the case before it even starts. The quicker a lawyer can examine your case, the better chance you have of getting the compensation you need.

Bottom Line

If you were bitten by a dog and know that it was due to the owner’s negligence, you may have a legal claim. The right dog bite lawyers can help you get the damages you need to heal and get peace of mind after being injured by a dog.

Injuries can be severe after being attacked by a dog. This is why it is so important to seek medical attention, obtain the necessary evidence, retrieve witness statements, and hire an attorney as soon as possible.

dog bite
Dog BitePersonal Injury

Dogs are wonderful additions to a family. However, accidents and situations can happen.

Nearly 4.5 million people are bitten each year by a dog with 1 out 5 bites becoming infected. Many people are not sure what to do if they are bitten by a dog. Should you call the police? Go to the hospital?

Here is everything you need to know about what you should do if you get bit by a dog:

Common Injuries from a Dog Bite

If you are bitten by a dog, more injuries may be present than just the bite wounds alone. The most common injuries from a dog bite include but are not limited to:

  • Abrasions
  • Punctures
  • Rabies
  • Lacerations
  • Tetanus
  • Avulsion—skin torn away from the body
  • Nerve damage
  • Death

These injuries can range from simple skin lacerations to full-blown, life-long nerve damage. Many people have lost their life after being mauled by a dog.

What Should You Do When You Are Bitten by a Dog?

If you are bitten by a dog, several things need to happen to ensure both your safety and proper record-keeping of the incident. If you are bitten by a dog, you should follow the next steps:

Don’t panic

The most important thing to do after a dog bite is not to panic. Get away from the animal as quickly as possible. Do your best to stay calm and get soap and water to immediately wash the wound.

Dog bites can be incredibly painful, so move with caution as you cleanse the bite. Stay calm as panicking can bring the situation from bad to worse.

Seek medical attention

Unfortunately, some dog bites can lead to serious infections. Seek medical attention immediately as the situation can be critical. Getting medical care sooner rather than later can also serve as evidence to substantiate the severity of the injury.

If your wound is continually bleeding, wrap the wound and apply strong pressure while you wait. Medical intervention should not be bypassed.

Assess the situation

When medical help is on the way, assess the situation. Where is the dog now? Is it still acting aggressively? Be sure to get to a safe place while you wait for help.

If the owner is nearby, inform them of what happened. Whether or not the animal is friendly is irrelevant as the dog has now bitten you. Survey the area so you can tell your story to animal control and the police.

Take pictures

It is vital to take pictures of the entire scene. Snap a photo of the surrounding area, the wound and bite mark, and any other relevant image.

Include close-up photos of the bite mark and any additional injuries caused by the dog. Do your best to get a picture of the dog that bit you so it can be easily identified.

File a police report

The next step is to call the police and file a police report regarding the dog bite incident. You need to prioritize having a police report stating what occurred during the incident as you will need the record of it when you file a lawsuit or insurance claim.

This police report helps attorneys determine the legal liability of the incident, and whether or not there is a legal claim. The report additionally serves as documentation should the dog ever bite another person.

Get owner’s contact information

If you cannot get the owner’s contact information at the same time the incident occurs, it is imperative to get it now. You must locate the owner of the dog and obtain their contact and insurance information.

You need this information to file a lawsuit after getting bitten by their dog. Any relevant information can help hold this negligent member accountable for your injury.

Contact a personal injury attorney

The most important step after a dog bite is to hire a personal injury lawyer. A dog bite attorney is well-versed in this niche of law and will help you hold the wrongdoer accountable.

Each state follows their own set of legal rules. In addition, federal laws may be applicable to protect you in the event of a dog bite. A reputable attorney will examine the facts of your case and determine if you have a legal claim. If there is enough evidence, they will represent you on your behalf and get you the compensation that you deserve after the traumatic event.

What Damages Can You Recover?

If you suffered a dog bite, you may have a legal claim to recover the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of wages/job
  • Potential future loss of wages
  • Wrongful death
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companion
  • And more

If you win the case, you will either get paid out of pocket or through the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance. It will be determined in court.

Who is Liable?

If you were bitten by a dog, it may seem like a clean-cut case. However, the situation itself will help to determine how liable the dog owner is for your injuries. In order to determine who is liable for the dog bite incident, here are some things to consider:

Did you provoke the dog?

If you were playing with the dog, you may want to consider if you played a role in provoking it to bite you. Be aware that some laws exist to protect the dog owner should you have played a role in instigating the attack.

Did you trespass on private property?

If you trespassed on private property, you may be partially liable for the incident. This situation can be considered comparative negligence, where you played a role in the incident. If the property was abandoned at the time of the incident, you may bear partial liability as you were legally not allowed to be there.

Bottom Line

If you were bitten by a dog, you must act—and fast. Seeking medical attention, gathering the necessary dog owner information, and filing a police report is imperative.

Contacting a top-industry personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. They will argue that the negligent party is accountable for your injuries.