No one wants to find themselves the victim of a dog bite, but for the 4.5 million people who are bitten by dogs in the United States annually, this becomes a harsh reality. In fact, dog bites make up one third of all home owners’ insurance claims (www.dogsbite.org). Unfortunately, a family pet can seem to turn on a dime. Often, pet owners are blinded by affection for their animal and don’t take proper steps when aggressive behavior is shown. There are many underlying factors surrounding a dog bite, and Stewart Law Offices are here to help if you find yourself or your child a victim of an attack. Consider the following information when exploring the appropriate legal action following a dog bite.
Dog Bite Circumstances to Consider
Dog bites are rarely a cut and dry event. When considering your options, it’s important to note details surrounding the bite. For example, if you were invited to someone’s property and their dog attacked, you might be entitled to compensation, whereas if you’re trespassing on private property, then the owner might not be responsible. Seek immediate medical attention, take pictures following the bite, and write down all details so you can accurately recall them later. While each state, city and even county has specific rules regarding dog bites, a few circumstances make personal injury compensation more likely.
- Owner is in violation of leash laws when the bite occurs
- Bite occurs on public property
- Bite occurs on a property where you have been lawfully invited and the dog was unprovoked
- A dog had been declared dangerous and the owner failed to follow guidelines set out by the state
- The owner failed to maintain reasonable control over the dog
Reminders for Dog Owners
A dog bite is an unpleasant situation for both the owner of the dog and the victim, and it’s important to take precautions to prevent these circumstances. Dog owners should always err on the side of caution. If children will be in your home, maintain strict control of your dog, as children are often unpredictable and can cause an otherwise calm dog to become anxious and aggressive. When taking your dog in public, always obey leash laws. Dogs that are easily excited should be kept muzzled in public. Families who have a new dog should take precautions as they learn their dog’s demeanor. It’s easy to assume that your beloved pet will treat others with the same affection as he treats you, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case.
Taking Precautions as a Parent
Though no one wants to be bitten by a dog, it is equally as necessary that steps are taken to prevent a dog bite when around an unfamiliar dog. Children are more vulnerable when it comes to dog bites, and therefore adults should be cautious when bringing children around a new or unknown animal. Teach your children to always ask before petting a dog. Do not leave children alone with a dog and never assume that a child knows how to act towards a dog. If you find yourself in a situation where a dog is running loose or “at large,” call animal control and avoid trying to make contact with the dog.
Even the most cautious person can find themselves the victim of a dog bite. Given the individuality of each case, it is important to consult with a lawyer to find out your rights as the injured party. Should you fall victim to a dog bite, contact a dog bite lawyer at Stewart Law Offices to learn about your options and receive the personal injury compensation you deserve. We’re ready and waiting for your call at 1-866-STEWART.
For more detailed information about domestic animal laws in your state, visit the following websites.
- North Carolina: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0067
- South Carolina: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t47c003.php