Dog Bite Attorney
The day starts like any other — rushing around the house, getting ready for work, packing lunches, and getting the kids out the door for school. It’s chaotic, but you have a routine that works. It’s Johnny’s day to take out the trash. You hear the truck winding its way to the neighborhood and wonder if you should remind him.
Then, you hear another sound, Johnny screaming and calling for help. You are used to his cries for mercy when his brother picks on him. This sound is different. Your parental instincts kick in, and you run for the door. As you get closer, you hear snarling and barking. When you finally reach the yard, you see the neighbor pulling their dog away from your boy, and he’s hurt.
Now, instead of dropping off the kids at school and heading to work, you’re on your way to the ER with your son and wondering what you are going to do.
At LifeLaw, we have helped many clients deal with the complexity of dog bite cases. We know that finding an experienced lawyer for your dog bite case is crucial. Our expert lawyers can help you through the legal process of building a case and filing a claim with the dog owner’s insurance to get you fair compensation for medical bills, time off work, and emotional trauma.
The Truth About Dog Bites
“Man’s best friend”—the term of endearment we use to describe dogs. In most instances, this description is accurate. By and large, dogs are loyal and loving companions. Their incredible sense of smell and ability to follow commands make them the perfect choice for search and rescue operations, illegal drug detection, medical service companions, and shepherding.
However, like many other animals, our typically docile canine companions react impulsively and instinctually in certain situations, sometimes without warning. These startling reactions can come unprovoked and may include barking, jumping up, nipping, and biting. While many dog encounters result in only minor injuries that go unreported, over 4.5 million people experience dog bites every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Sadly, over half of the victims are children, and over half of the bites occur on the dog owner’s property.
With the number of dog owners on the rise nationwide, dog bite injuries are a serious concern for residents of the Beehive State, especially parents. Utah residents filed 116 dog bite claims in 2018. Settlements paid to the victims averaged just over $45,000 in compensation. These statistics reflect Utah’s firm stance on dog bites.
LifeLaw’s experienced dog bite attorneys are well-versed in Utah’s strict dog bite laws. They can help you understand who is liable for dog bite injuries, your rights as a dog bite victim, and how to get compensation for your injuries.
After the Bite
Following the proper steps after a dog bite injury is key. The information you gather immediately after the incident will help your Salt Lake City lawyer for dog bites build a strong case for you. It will also help prevent the same dog from biting others in the future.
Step One: Seek Medical Treatment
As with any accident, the first priority is the health and well-being of the victim. Evaluate the severity of the bite. Applying pressure to minor nips may help them stop bleeding quickly. However, we still recommend seeing a doctor. The bacteria present in the dog’s saliva can get into the wound, leading to an infection. A doctor can properly clean the bite and dress the wound, speeding up the healing process. Deeper wounds may require stitches, surgery, or hospitalization. Seeking skilled medical attention after a severe dog bite is essential.
If the dog’s vaccination status is unknown or if they are not up to date on their shots, you may need a rabies shot as well to ward off more severe complications.
A doctor’s evaluation can also provide important evidence for your dog bite lawyer to draw on if you decide to pursue a personal injury case. Your doctor’s assessment will help show the nature and severity of your wounds.
Step Two: Document Your Case
Just as you would at the scene of a car accident, gather information to share with the authorities and your dog bite attorney. The more information you have, the stronger your case will be and the smoother your recovery from the dog bite. Be sure to get answers to the following questions:
- Who was responsible for the dog at the time of the attack?
- Who owns the dog?
- What is the dog’s name?
- What breed of dog bit you?
- Is the dog up to date on vaccinations?
- Were there any witnesses?
- What happened before, during, and after the attack?
Write down as many details about the incident as you can remember while it is fresh in your mind. Recalling details later can be challenging. Also, get the contact information of anyone present at the time of the bite. Eye witness accounts will back up your story and strengthen your personal injury case.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Taking pictures at the scene of the dog bite can help you remember details and may preserve pertinent information for your dog bite attorney. Get pictures of the dog, the scene of the incident, and the injuries received. You can also use your phone’s camera to take pictures of the dog’s ID, owner’s ID, and contact information of others present during the attack. Taking pictures will make it easy to gather and keep track of information.
Also, save the clothes you were wearing during the attack, especially if there is blood, bite marks, or other damage to the fabric.
Step Three: Report the Dog Bite to the Authorities
If you or a loved one has serious injuries from a dog bite, you should report it to public health authorities or animal control. Creating a legal record of the bite will help support your dog bite case. It will also ensure that the bite goes on the dog’s record.
Many states do not hold owners responsible the first time their dog bites a person. In states with these laws it is vital to report every bite to show a pattern of behavior. In Utah, owners are “strictly liable.” This means that dog owners are liable for injuries resulting from the dog’s first bite, as well as any other injuries resulting from their pet’s behavior.
At LifeLaw, we believe in upholding this law to protect Utah residents from dog bites. Reporting the injuries you or a loved one received while interacting with a dog helps us win dog bite cases and make Utah neighborhoods safer for everyone.
Step Four: Hire an Expert Utah Lawyer for Dog Bites
In many dog bite cases, it can be challenging to prove liability. It is your word against the word of the dog’s owner. They may claim your actions provoked the dog, which could mean they would not be responsible for your injuries. They may also claim that you exaggerated your account of the incident or the extent of your injuries.
Utah dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets, and Utah’s dog bite laws exist to protect people like you.
LifeLaw’s experienced dog bite attorneys know how to gather information and present your case to get you compensation for your injuries under Utah’s dog bite laws. As dog bite injury experts, they know what it takes to win a case for you.
How LifeLaw’s Lawyers for Dog Bites Can Help
As soon as you call LifeLaw, you have a team of professionals working for you. Navigating the complexities of a dog bite case on your own can be overwhelming. Let us take the lead on your case, interfacing with the insurance company and opposing legal counsel so you can focus on recovering and getting back to your life.
As experts in personal injury claims and Utah’s dog bite laws, the attorneys at LifeLaw can help you get compensation after suffering a dog bite or related injury. You could receive damages to cover any or all of the following:
- Medical treatment for the bite
- Scar revision or tissue reduction surgery
- Plastic surgery
- Surgical muscle, ligaments, or tendon repairs
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
Insurance companies have experts working for them to keep costs down and profits high. For you, this could mean getting a lower settlement that doesn’t fully cover your lost wages, medical bills, or compensate you for the trauma you’ve been through. Our attorneys work hard to get the best possible outcome for every client. We understand the legal process and will guide you every step of the way. Let us take care of your case so that you can take care of feeling better.
We know how important it is to find the right attorney for your dog bite case. Call us today to schedule a free consultation, and let us show you what we can do to win your case and ensure that your needs are met.
Tips For Avoiding Dog Bites
While many people love their dogs like children, it is important to remember that they are animals. Like their human counterparts, many are mild-mannered creatures that would never hurt a fly. Others are more temperamental and require some patience. This is especially true of dogs that are eating, pregnant, or protecting a litter of puppies. A dog that is feeling protective or agitated will often show signs of aggression before they bite.
Learning to read the body language of the canines around you can help you avoid the physical pain and emotional trauma of a dog bite injury.
Some signs of aggression in dogs include the following:
- Hackles raised: These special hairs on the back of a dog’s neck become raised to make the animal look larger.
- Tail stiff or hanging: A dog’s tail reflects its emotional state. If it is stiff or hanging, rather than wagging, the dog may be feeling angry or scared.
- Exposed teeth: Barring their teeth is a warning sign to other creatures. A low brow and tongue flick may accompany this menacing look.
- Intense glare: A dog that feels cornered will look intently for an escape or an opening to attack. Its eyes may be so wide you can see the whites of their eyes around the iris.
- Backing away: Retreating as you approach is a sign the dog does not want you near them.
Tips for responding to aggressive dog behaviors:
- Relax: Dogs can tell if you are scared. Remaining calm can help you avoid escalating its emotions.
- Don’t engage: Avoid locking eyes with the dog, as this may lead them to believe you are a threat. Try turning sideways so you appear to be less dangerous.
- Slowly back away: Sudden moves in any direction may startle the dog. Give them more space by stepping slowly away while watching their reaction.
- Put something between you and the dog: If you have a jacket, bag, bike, or purse with you, place that item in front of you. If the dog decides to bite, let it bite this item rather than you.
- Don’t fight: Dogs are strong. The best response to an attack is to curl up on the ground to protect yourself. Curling up your knees close to your chest will protect your stomach while your arms protect your face.
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