Being attacked by a dog can be traumatic, and even small dogs can cause serious bite wounds or disfiguring scars. Yet many dog bite victims are reluctant to seek compensation because they do not know their rights or because they don’t want to sue a friend, relative or neighbor.
Dog owners are liable under Louisiana law for any injuries inflicted by their pets. Also, dog bite compensation is typically paid from the pet owner’s homeowners insurance. The New Orleans dog bite attorneys at the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., can explain your legal remedies in a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers serve clients in New Orleans, Metairie, Gretna, and throughout Jefferson Parish!
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If you are the victim of a dog bite attack, you are likely suffering from horrific injuries that require significant medical treatment and recovery time. In addition, you may face serious emotional trauma, chronic pain, and lifelong consequences to your daily routine – and you could claim compensation for these losses through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. However, navigating these legal processes alone can be overwhelming and confusing, especially in the wake of a severe injury.
When you contact Redmann Law to assist with your claim, you can rest assured that your case is in capable hands. You will receive access to an attorney who is familiar with the law surrounding dog bite cases in Louisiana and who knows how to approach your claim. In addition, you receive access to resources and other benefits so that you can focus on recovery, not filing paperwork.
Louisiana has a strict liability dog bite statute. This means that victims can recover compensation without having to prove that the owner was negligent or that the dog had a history of vicious behavior. Dog owners are responsible for any bite or injury, on or off their property, even if the animal had never attacked before.
However, you should still contact a dog bite lawyer to protect your interests. The dog owner can claim that the victim was trespassing or that the dog was provoked. Also, our injury attorneys know how to document your injuries and secure full compensation, which might include:
Children are especially vulnerable to serious bites on the face, head and hands and are often traumatized by the experience and become fearful of all dogs.
To file a lawsuit against a dog owner whose animal bit and caused injury to you, you will need to prove that you suffered damages as a result of the attack. These damages can range from economic losses, such as medical treatment and property damage, to non-economic losses, like pain and suffering or post-traumatic stress disorder. You may wonder if your damages are severe enough to file a lawsuit.
You have two avenues you can pursue if you want to file a lawsuit against a dog owner: you can file a claim in small claims court, or you can pursue a larger lawsuit in Louisiana civil court. The difference between these two types of lawsuits is the amount of damages you are claiming.
In the state of Louisiana, you can claim up to $5,000 in small claims court. Through this avenue, you do not have to go through as lengthy or as formal of a process as filing in civil court. However, you do have a restriction on how much you could receive. You should only go through small claims if you only have a small amount of damages.
If your injuries or damages total more than $5,000, pursue your claim through Louisiana civil court. Your attorney from Redmann Law will guide you along every step of the way. As a result, you have a greater chance of recovering the compensation you need to heal from the dog bite.
Under the Louisiana Civil Code, dog owners are liable for any damage that their pets cause to another person or property. However, a dog owner is not liable for a bite under all circumstances – Section 2321 of the Civil Code goes on to specify that a pet owner is responsible for damage when he or she knew or should have known that the dog could cause damage.
In addition, a dog owner is not liable for a dog bite if you provoked the attack in some way. Even if your actions did not lead to the dog attacking you, the owner may claim that you did to reduce his or her liability. You and your attorney from Redmann Law will work together to disprove these claims and to build a compelling case in your favor.
To prove the dog owner’s liability for the bite, you and your attorney will need to establish the following four elements.
Dog bites can be incredibly damaging, leading to open, jagged wounds that can carry a risk of infection. If you are immunocompromised or have a disease such as diabetes, you may be at a higher risk of infection. As soon as possible following the attack, seek medical attention to treat the wound and reduce your risk of contracting further diseases.
When you visit a doctor to treat your dog bite, he or she will clean the wound and give you antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the attack, you may need to stay in the hospital and undergo reconstructive surgery. If you are not up to date on your tetanus shots, the doctor will likely give you one to reduce your risk of infection.
Settlement amounts for dog bites vary from case to case. As such, it is difficult for an attorney to provide an estimate or average amount for these cases. Depending on the circumstances of the attack, you could see a small award under $1,000, or a large award in the tens of thousands of higher.
Although it is difficult to provide a number for the average dog bite settlement, the following factors will likely increase your overall award amount.
The state of Louisiana imposes the one-bite rule in order to establish negligence in dog bite claims. Under Louisiana state law, a dog owner can only be negligent for his or her dog’s behavior if he or she knew or should have known that his or her dog would bite someone. If the dog does not have a history of aggressive behavior, it may be difficult to pursue a claim against the owner.
However, the one-bite rule can help you establish your claim. If the dog bit someone in the past or has a history of threatening behavior, you could hold the owner responsible for your losses. Under the one-bite rule, the owner must take reasonable steps to keep the dog from harming other people if it bit someone in the past. Failure to do so can lead to liability for future damages.
Under Louisiana state law, you must adhere to the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against a negligent dog owner. If you do not file your lawsuit within one year from the date of the attack, the court will likely not hear your case.
If you are suffering from the aftermath of a dog bite, it is important to contact Redmann Law as soon as possible. We will listen to your story and provide guidance on how to proceed with your claim. In addition, we will file your lawsuit in Louisiana civil court to help you meet the one-year deadline.
Even if the pet owner is a family member or friend, you should not have to absorb the medical bills or forgo other personal injury damages. Compensation for a dog attack is paid from homeowners insurance, not out of that person’s bank account. If you or your child was attacked by a stranger’s dog, we will pursue damages from the owner’s personal assets if he or she does not have insurance.
For a free consultation with a New Orleans dog bite injury lawyer, contact us online or call (504) 500-5000 today.
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