Dogs can be faithful companions and wonderful, protective pets, but depending on the breed of a dog and how it was raised, an unwatched dog can prove dangerous to humans and other animals. A dog that escapes from its owner’s yard or unexpectedly leaps over a fence when you walk by the owner’s house can attack without necessarily being provoked, causing severe injuries that can easily become infected if not promptly treated.
When a property owner has a dog they know is capable of attacking and injuring strangers, they need to do everything in their power to keep that dog under control. Their yard needs to properly contain the animal or the animal needs to be chained up and kept far away from sidewalks, etc. If the owner is present during an attack, they need to hold the dog back or command it to back off.
Animal owners are legally and financially responsible and liable for their pets. When a dog owner fails to properly contain their pet or stop it from attacking, a victim of a serious, unprovoked dog bite has a legal right to file a lawsuit against the owner. A Columbia, MO dog bite lawyer can help the victim receive the financial compensation they need to cover any medical expenses or prolonged care and make up for lost wages, emotional side effects, etc.
What to Do If You’re Bit by a Dog
Being unexpectedly attacked by a dog can be a traumatic experience. The attack may cause you to become angry and lash out against the owner, but it’s best to remain calm, get away from the dog/get to safety immediately, and proceed to do the following:
- Identify the dog and breed, if possible. If the dog is still nearby, taking a quick photograph with your cell phone is recommended.
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Contact your local health department, animal control agency, and the police station regarding the attack. These agencies will get in contact with the dog’s owner and make sure the dog can’t harm anyone else.
- Photograph your injury and prepare a brief written documentation of the events involving the attack.
- Contact a Columbia, MO dog bite lawyer at Thomas Law Offices. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible allows them to get started on preparing evidence such as medical records, photographs, and witness statements.
Considering the Facts About Dog Bites
It’s important to note that dog bite lawsuits can be complicated to fight in civil court. An experienced and resourceful attorney will do everything they can to fight on your behalf, but there are still some facts you’ll need to consider before you decide to open a claim. Here’s what you need to know:
- If the dog owner’s property had warning signs posted about their pet being dangerous (“Beware of Dog”, etc.), the court may argue that you were given “reasonable” warning about the attack and should have walked on the other side of the street, etc. If there were no signs posted, you don’t have to worry about this.
- If you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property, the court may argue that the dog owner shouldn’t be held 100% liable. In this case, the judge may decide to lower your compensation award amount.
- If the owner argues they had no idea that the dog was potentially dangerous, this may further complicate your dog bite claim. The court will proceed by further investigating the evidence at hand by examining how the dog was secured, its breed, etc.
Given the possible complications of dog bite lawsuits, having an attorney on your side who’s familiar with complicated personal injury cases can make all the difference.
A Columbia, MO Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
Filing a lawsuit after a serious dog bite attack can aid the recovery process as well as help you and your loved ones gain peace of mind knowing that the dog’s owner won’t let their pet harm anyone else again. Sometimes, unfortunately, it can take a traumatic event for an animal owner to realize just how dangerous their beloved pet can be.
Contact a Columbia, MO dog bite lawyer at Thomas Law Offices for an obligation-free consultation that’s 100% free. Our office will be glad to tell you if you have a possible case on your hands or answer any questions you may have.