Dog bites in and of themselves can be very serious injuries that can leave deep and long-lasting scars even after the wounds heal. However, having to treat an infected dog bite wound does not necessarily mean you will have a claim. Factors such as the extent of the injury and infection, whether the dog has an owner or if it is a stray, the negligence of the dog owner, and whether the dog owner is a homeowner or has some other kind of insurance for their dog all play a role in if you have a claim.
Who Owns The Dog? Dog Bite Claim Complications
Whether or not the dog is a stray plays a significant and obvious role. Without a dog owner there will be no one to bring a claim against. There could be very limited circumstances where you have a claim for a stray dog attack – such as with a property owner whose property attracts strays, the property owner is aware of this, and does nothing to remedy this situation. But if you suffer a dog bite that becomes infected from a stray dog in most cases you will unfortunately have no recourse to recover payment for your injuries.
Even if the dog has an owner, you still may have no recourse to recover for your infected dog bite if the dog owner does not have insurance coverage for their dog. For example, if the dog owner is a renter, their renter’s insurance may not have coverage for their dog. This can also sometimes happen even if the dog owner is a homeowner but did not elect coverage for their dog. In this scenario your only recourse would be to collect against the personal assets of the dog owner which can be difficult, especially if there is little to collect against.
Seriousness Of A Dog Bite Injury
The extent of the injury and infection can also play a role. If it is a very minor injury and infection that requires little treatment it may not be worth it to you to undergo the time and expense of litigation. There is no definitive dog bite injury and infection size and type that determines if you have a dog bite claim. Do you have a dog bite claim in New Jersey? This involves a case-by-case analysis and an experienced dog bite attorney will know if your injuries warrant going forward with litigation.
What will the size of your recovery be? This all depends on the extent of your injuries and infection. Sometimes serious infections can lead to dire consequences with the affected limb or body part. Other factors are how the injury affects your daily life, the amount of pain you suffered and may still be suffering, scarring and disfigurement in the of the attack, and any other limitations the injury causes. Your recovery will also depend on your economic losses. Any lost wages and out of pocket expenses will be recoverable. (Your lost wages can be shown by your tax returns and pay stubs). Your health insurance can also recover for any medical bills it covered because of your infected dog bite injuries, therefore the amount of medical bills the insurance covered will also be an item of damages in your claim.
Proving Negligence In A Dog Attack Case
In order to recover for your infected dog bite wound you will have to prove that the dog owner was negligent. In some instances strict liability may apply against the dog owner meaning you do not have to show negligence, although the dog owner may still have some defenses. The dog will not necessarily be put to sleep for biting someone. For example, if you have evidence that a dog has attacked other people or animals in the past without provocation then the dog owner will be strictly liable to you for any injuries the owner’s dog has caused you – assuming you did not do anything to provoke the dog into attacking you. Even if strict liability principles do not apply, the dog owner could be held liable for their dog attack. For example, the dog owner would likely be liable if the owner allows their dog to roam freely around and off their property, and the dog attacks you unprovoked.
You can prove evidence of either negligence or past dog attacks through witness statements or police reports. If there is no documented evidence of the attack, and the attack did not occur on or near the homeowner’s property, you may have a difficult time proving a particular dog attacked you and thus may not have a claim.
Finding An Experienced Dog Attack Lawyer
The Thistle Law Firm is experienced at handling dog bite and dog attack cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you suffered a dog attack in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the PA Dog Bite attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to take your call and answer your questions at 215-568-6800.