How to Prove Fault in a Dog Bite Claim - Sand Law North Dakota
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How to Prove Fault in a Dog Bite Claim

6th May 2022

How to Prove Fault in a Dog Bite Claim - Sand Law PLLC North Dakota Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, there’s a very high likelihood that it was the most terrifying experience of your life – and probably the most painful, as well. You’ve not only suffered major injuries, you’ve also incurred substantial monetary losses due to medical expenses and lost wages. Even worse, the insurance company of the dog’s owner is probably claiming you were somehow to blame for the attack.

The North Dakota dog bite attorneys with Sand Law have seen the tactics insurers use in an effort to deny compensation. We will fight to make sure that company can’t concoct a ridiculous story in an effort to deflect responsibility toward you, instead of where the blame truly belongs. If you would like to learn more about how we may be able to help, please use our online contact form or give us a call at 701-609-1510 to schedule a free case review.

What to do if a Dog Bites You

As horrifying as a dog attack may be, you’ll still need to try to keep your head as best you can. First, you’ll need to seek medical care, even if you think you can treat the bite on your own. There’s a chance that you could be at risk for a severe bacterial infection. Simply taking an antibiotic prescribed by a doctor could make all the difference between being fine and suffering extremely serious health problems.

Next, you’ll need to be able to identify the dog’s owner, if you don’t know them already. If, for instance, you were out on a neighborhood walk and someone you don’t know lost control of their dog, you’ll need to get their contact information, and then give them yours. This will be critically important in order for you to be able to file an insurance claim. More than likely, the owner’s home insurance policy will cover dog bites.

Next, you’ll want to file a report with animal control. If the dog owner is responsible, then they’ve had their dog vaccinated for rabies. But if they’re not, then you could potentially be at risk. If you don’t know the person, you have no idea which category they fall into. The animal will need to be tested to make sure you’re not in danger. A report will also be necessary for your insurance claim.

How to Prove You’re Not at Fault for Your Dog Bite Injuries

Even though you’re filing a claim and taking all the steps you need to take, be prepared to fight. As stated earlier, the dog owner’s insurance company is very likely going to try and shift the blame for the attack to you. It will be imperative that you have the evidence needed to prove otherwise.

The insurance company will probably claim, for instance, that you somehow provoked the dog by trespassing on the owner’s property, or doing something else to cause the attack. You’re going to not only have to prove you did nothing wrong, but also that the owner of the dog had a duty to prevent the animal from biting, and breached that duty. You’ll also have to prove the breach resulted in you suffering damages.

How do you go about doing that? Your first move will be to hire a skilled dog bite attorney. The next step will be to obtain photographic evidence showing why the attack took place. Take pictures of the dog, as well as any other evidence you can uncover. This could include a hole in the owner’s fence where the dog escaped. It will be critically important that you take those pictures as soon as you can, before the owner has a chance to fix that fence.

But what if you were in a public setting, such as a restaurant where dogs are allowed? If that’s where the attack took place, there’s a good chance that surveillance video caught footage of the attack. Your attorney will be able to obtain that video to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you did nothing wrong.

Where do Most Dog Bite Injuries Occur?

Dog bites tend to occur on private property, and victims usually know the owner. You could have been visiting the home of a friend or a family member, or you might have gone next door to your neighbor’s house.

Attacks also take place on public property, such as a local dog park, or a lake where people let their pets run around. Owners will sometimes take their pets to dog-friendly restaurants, where they hang out on the patio – even though they know their dogs are aggressive, they’ll do it anyway for whatever reason.

Who is Usually At Fault for a Dog Bite Accident?

In the vast majority of cases, the owner of the dog will be the one held responsible for an attack that leads to a bite. They must supervise their dog at all times – especially if they know the dog tends to feel threatened around strangers. If there is any reason to suspect that the dog may bite anyone who visits, they must make sure the animal is kept in a separate room, or kept outside while the visitor is present.

But there are other times where someone else will be accountable. The owner of the dog may be out of town, and a pet sitter is in the home. If that person neglects the owner’s instructions, that could increase the dog’s stress, increasing the chances for an attack to occur. People will sometimes hire dog walkers because they can’t walk their dogs themselves. If the dog walker doesn’t properly keep the animal under control, they – as well as the company that hired them – could also be held liable.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for My Claim?

Many dog bite victims are hesitant to take legal action to recover their damages, because they don’t want to sue the owner – who is probably someone they know very well. If you’re in this category, it’s important for you to know you won’t be suing your friend or family member. You’ll be suing that person’s insurance company – the one that refuses to pay fair compensation because it’s trying to make it look like you’re to blame.

The dog bite attorneys with Sand Law won’t let an insurer turn the tables in an effort to make it look like you’re responsible for your own injuries. Let us show you how by calling 701-609-1510 or contacting us online for a free consultation.