North Dakota Dog Bite Injury Attorneys
After a Serious North Dakota Dog Bite, Recovering from your Injuries can be Stressful and Overwhelming
North Dakota is one of the few states in America that doesn’t have a personal injury law specific to dog bites or animal attacks. Instead, North Dakota dog bite attorneys rely on something known as case law to prove these types of cases. The most common case that attorneys refer to is Sendelbach v. Grad. This case allows attorneys to prove that dog bite victims deserve compensation. And that dog bite owners have a duty of care to keep their guests safe and to keep their pets under control in public.
Sand Law in North Dakota is experienced at handling dog bite and other animal attack cases. We are here for you if you need us. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and consultation.
Statistics on Dog Bites in the U.S. and North Dakota
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year in the United States. Of these, 800,000 result in medical care. 81% of dog bites cause absolutely no injury. And there’s only a 1 in 112,000 chance of dying from a dog bite or attack.
Most dog bite accidents involve dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered. And 25% of fatal dog bite attacks were inflicted by dogs that were chained up—of various breeds.
There isn’t one specific type of breed that statistically bites more often than the rest. Instead, over 30 breeds and dog types are associated with dog-bite fatalities each year. Pit bulls are most commonly associated with dog bite cases. However, other aggressive dog breeds include the Rottweiler and German shepherd.
Between 2005 and 2017, Texas, California, and Florida ranked as the three states with the highest amount of dog bite fatalities each year. In 9th place was Illinois, with 16 total deaths. However, North Dakota didn’t rank in the top nine.
North Dakota Dog Bite Statute of Limitations
North Dakota’s statute of limitations for dog bite and animal attack injuries is the same as any other personal injury claims. In North Dakota, the statute of limitations is 6 years, starting from the day the dog bite occurred. This time limit ensures that everyone gets a fair trial by making sure that evidence is still available and that witnesses are still reliable. With very few exceptions, if you want to get the compensation you deserve after a North Dakota dog bite then you should contact a personal injury attorney right away to better your chances at a fair settlement.
North Dakota’s Dog Bite Law
As we mentioned in the opening, North Dakota does not have a specific law that dictates the rules and liabilities of dog bites. North Dakota Supreme Court case, Sendelbach v. Grad, set the standard of negligence law in North Dakota when it comes to dog bites and the injuries they inflict.
To receive compensation for your dog bite injuries from a negligent dog owner in North Dakota, your personal injury lawyer must prove that:
- the dog (or other animal) owner had a duty to prevent their dog from causing injury or harm to others,
- and that the dog owner failed to carry out that duty (also known as breach of duty), and
- because the dog owner breached their duty, it caused injuries or damages to the dog bite victim.
Reasonable Care and Dog Bite Injury Cases
Courts usually rely on something known as reasonable care to understand a dog owner’s duty to others. Basically, they ask themselves if the dog’s owner had a responsibility to restrain, train, or control their dog so that it wouldn’t bite another person; and did they take reasonable care to prevent the attack from happening.
Just because North Dakota doesn’t have a specific dog bite law doesn’t mean other laws cannot be used to prove your case. For example, if a dog bites a child while they are walking on the street, and the dog wasn’t on a leash, then the owner’s simple failure to follow local leash laws would be a violation of reasonable care.
Comparative Negligence in North Dakota Dog Bite Claims
A commonly used defense in personal injury cases involves a concept known as “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence refers to the injured person’s responsibility in their own injuries. For example, a dog owner, or their lawyer, or insurance company may attempt to reduce or deny a dog bite injury claim because they claim the injured person was partly or totally to blame for their own injuries.
This is not hard to imagine in a scenario where someone provokes the dog. In these comparative situations, the jury decides what percent each person is at fault out of 100 and reduces the damages by the percentage of fault assigned to the injury victim.
For example, if a person is found to be 20% at fault for their dog bite injuries, they can only receive 80% of their total damages.
This is cut off at 50 percent. That means if an injury victim is found to be 50% or more at fault, they are not entitled to any compensation at all.
Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Serious
Dog attacks can lead to many different types of injuries with varying levels of severity. Common dog bite injuries include:
Puncture wounds are the most common injury associated with dog bites or attacks. They can cause nerve damage, infection, and other complications. They often require stitches, and the deeper the wound is, the more damage it’s likely to cause.
In the case of an intense bite that causes damage to the bone, ligaments, and muscles, victims may require surgery in order to allow the bone to heal properly, especially in the case of fractures.
Injuries To The Face
Face injuries can be incredibly expensive, as they may require reconstruction. Facial injuries can leave a person scarred and with facial disfigurement. Scarring and facial deformities commonly leave people with mental anguish and depression.
Scars are common with dog bite injuries, especially if the wounds are deep. The more severe a wound is, the more noticeable the scar is likely to be.
A traumatic brain injury may occur because of a dog bite injury or attack. These occur when the dog causes the victim to fall to the ground, hitting their head off of a hard object, such as concrete, a rock, or a curb, amongst other surfaces.
If a dog bite is severe enough, damage can be done to the nerve. Nerve damage is especially common if the victim is bitten by a dog that has a strong jaw. This type of injury can cause high medical bills, as well as long-term pain and permanent damage.
There are many different reasons that one may be emotionally affected by a dog bite accident. They may develop PTSD that flares up when around dogs of a similar breed, or they may develop depression because of facial deformities or scarring.
Most Dangerous Dog Breeds
How dangerous a dog breed is is measured in two ways. One is their ability to be trained. Is it easy to train them, or are they reluctant to learn proper commands that will prevent them from hurting people? And second is their jaw strength. Which dogs cause the most damage with their bites?
The top ten dog breeds known for aggression include:
- Chow chow
- Doberman pinscher
- Jack Russell terrier
- German shepherd
- Pitbull terrier
- Siberian husky
The top ten dogs with the strongest bite include:
- Cane Corso
- Tosa Inu
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- English mastiff
- Dogo Canario
- Dogo Argentino
How to Prevent or Minimize Your Chances of Being Attacked by a Dog
You may never see a dog bite injury or attack coming. So it can be impossible to prepare yourself for an attack. However, in many cases, you can avoid dog bite injuries by being aware of your surroundings and not approaching dogs you don’t know. To prevent injuries from occurring, or to stop an attack in the making, here are some tips:
- Stay away from chained, leashed, or tethered dogs.
- Know the warning signs of an aggressive or upset dog. Warning signs include growling, raised fur, rigid body posture, and snapping.
- Do not stare dogs in the eyes.
- Don’t run away.
- Speak softly to gently calm the dog.
- If charged, curl up in a ball to protect your face, neck, and head.
Damages in a Dog Bite Injury Case
In the unfortunate circumstance that you aren’t able to prevent a dog bite injury from occurring, you may be entitled to compensation from the dog owner and their insurance company. You can claim damages for economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
Average Settlements for Dog Bite Injuries
According to 2019 Insurance Information Institute data, the national average for dog bite claims is $43,653. For North Dakota, the average dog bite claim payout is $44,166.
At Sand Law, we are proud to say that our average dog bite settlement amount is over twice as much as the North Dakota average. Sand Law’s dog bite settlement average is $101,750. When you compare that to the North Dakota average of $44,166, it becomes apparent that hiring the right attorney can make all the difference between settling and getting proper compensation.
Contacting an Experienced North Dakota Dog Bite Injury Attorney
Sand Law has helped hundreds of dog bite victims across North Dakota get the compensation they need to fully recover from their injuries. We’ve assembled a team of experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys who are skilled and passionate about representing victims of negligence in all types of personal injury matters, including dog attacks.
Our offices are conveniently located in Watford City, Minot, Williston, and Bismarck. We also have a vast network of resources and witnesses that we can employ if necessary to help make a client’s case as strong as possible. This helps to ensure our clients get the compensation they deserve.
Contact Sand Law today to schedule your free consultation by calling 701-609-1510 or by filling out our contact form. We look forward to helping you and your family in your time of need with compassion and understanding.