Although many families love and cherish their dogs, some canines still pose a threat to other people. In recent times, New York received more than 800 dog bite claims, which led to settlements worth nearly $49.1 million.
Victims of dog bites need to know their rights and how they can receive compensation from an insurance company or dog owner if they file a lawsuit. Having an experienced dog bite attorney on your side comes in handy.
Explore how hiring an experienced attorney can help build compelling cases against dog owners whose pets have attacked.
1. Prove the dog’s owner knew the dog was dangerous
For instance, if you reside in Brooklyn, you can hire a Brooklyn dog bite lawyer to claim compensation if a dog has bitten you. Lawyers can help victims build compelling cases against owners by finding witnesses who saw the dog behaving dangerously or aggressively before it attacked the victim.
Dog bite attorneys can also help you gather evidence that the dog’s owner knew the dog was dangerous. For example, if people in your neighborhood saw or heard the animal acting aggressively on multiple occasions before your attack, this would be helpful information for an attorney to use in court.
2. Demonstrate that the owner failed to take precautions
Dog bites are so rampant that New York City reported 6,156 cases in 2020 alone. A dog bite attorney can help the victim prove that the dog owner failed to take necessary precautions to prevent the attack.
The attorney can look into the dog’s ownership history and determine if the owner took steps to train and socialize the dog properly.
Dogs not adequately trained and socialized tend to exhibit aggressive behavior and attack without provocation. This can be proof of negligence on the owner’s part.
Further, suppose the owner allowed the dog to roam freely in a neighborhood without a fence or other enclosure. In that case, the attorney can use this as evidence that the owner failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the attack.
And if the owner violated leash laws and allowed their dog to roam free, this is evidence that the owner failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the attack.
3. Collect evidence of previous attacks by the same dog
To build a successful personal injury case, you may need proof of previous attacks by the same dog. A dog bite attorney can help you do this by collecting copies of police reports related to any incidents involving this particular dog and its owner.
The lawyers will get witness statements from those bitten or attacked by the dog in question. If previous victims have not yet filed charges but would like to, they may be willing to share their story with an attorney rather than with any other person.
4. Understanding and applying state and local laws
In New York, dog bite laws hold dog owners strictly liable for any injury caused by their dog, regardless of whether the dog has a history of being aggressive.
If a dog bites someone, they have three years from the injury date to file a claim under New York’s statute of limitations.
Liable parties can be any entity in charge of the pet, including dog owners, dog walkers, grooming facilities, doggy daycare centers, landlords, or property management supervisors.
Dog bite attorneys well-versed in state and local laws can help victims understand their rights and the best action to take.
With their legal knowledge and specialization, dog-bite attorneys can navigate the legal process on behalf of their clients.
5. Settlement negotiation and trial preparation
Experienced attorneys will fight for your rights in settlement negotiations and prepare your case for trial if necessary.
Your attorney will examine the facts and circumstances of the incident to establish the dog owner’s negligence or violations of local laws.
Before settlement negotiation, a dog bite attorney will work closely with you to assess the damages you’ve suffered. They will help you gather documentation and evidence to support your claims for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any other losses experienced.
They will utilize their expertise in dog bite cases and knowledge of your specific situation to negotiate a fair and just settlement on your behalf.
If the opposing party isn’t willing to offer a fair settlement, your dog bite attorney will take your case to trial. They will continue preparing evidence, building a compelling case, and preparing you for court appearances.
Final thoughts on hiring a dog bite attorney
A person or family who has suffered injuries because of a dog attack may be able to hold the dog’s owner responsible. Victims should contact a dog bite attorney for help understanding their legal options and preparing a comprehensive legal case.