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June 7, 2021

SEEKING COMPENSATION FOR DOG BITE VICTIMS

If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, serious injuries and losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering may have been sustained. If the dog attack was a serious, it is very possible that the medical bills alone could be tens of thousands of dollars and there could be lifelong physical consequences from those injuries. It is possible that the person who owns the dog can be responsible for these losses and injuries.

It is also possible that the owner of the dog does not have insurance to cover the claim. If this is the case, and there is no insurance, the owner of the dog would be responsible for paying any verdict out of their own pocket.

In many cases, especially if the dog owner rents, they may not have the financial means to compensate the injured victim. In this situation, the injured party may need to obtain a judgment, and even then, if they do not have the money to pay the judgment, it may never be paid. Which means the injured victim may not recover any compensation for some, or any, of their injuries and losses.

If the dog’s owner owns a home, the homeowner’s insurance will usually cover the attack. However, many apartment complexes will require dog owners to carry renter’s insurance, and the renter’s insurance is also likely to cover injuries and losses suffered in the attack. North Carolina also expands liability to landlords who allow dangerous dogs onto their rental property.

And finally, if the attack happens at a store and the store’s owner allowed a dangerous dog onto their property, the store owner could be held liable for a dog bite attack. For example, many stores allow any breed of dog into their store. If a dangerous breed is brought into the store and bites someone else, the store may be liable.

If you or a loved one is searching for an attorney after a dog bite attack, it is important to select an attorney who is experienced and familiar with laws pertaining to dog bites and the avenues available to seek recovery.  The attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP are experienced in bog bite personal injury cases, and are available for free consultations. Give us a call today, 252-378-2525.

March 25, 2021

ANIMAL ATTACK OR ACCIDENT, DO YOU HAVE A LAWSUIT?

You know how to behave around both domesticated and wild animals. Domesticated animals usually feel more than happy to sit in close proximity to humans.  Wild animals require a lot of space and minimal interaction.

However, you recently crossed paths with a dog or cat, and that animal decided to attack you. You have had to miss time at work and pay for medical attention during your recovery, and you have lost significant funds as a result.

You shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of another creature’s actions-but you cannot sue a dog or cat like you would sue another person who had wronged you. So, what can you do to ensure you receive the restitution you deserve?

Simply follow the steps outlined below.

Determine if You Can Sue for Owner Liability

First of all, you cannot sue for compensation if the animal does not belong to anyone. At that point, the animal is classified as feral, and the same principles apply as if you had come across a wild animal. You can only sue if the animal is someone’s pet, and then you can sue the owner for damages their dog or cat caused.

However, you do not have a legitimate animal attack case if your situation does not meet the following criteria:

Your injuries must have come from the animal that attacked you or have happened during your escape from the animal. You will have to provide proof, so make sure your doctor documents all the relevant details.

You did not provoke the animal to attack you in any way. You did not invade its space, tease it or otherwise incite it against you. You simply passed by and minded your own business.

You had a right to be where you were. For example, you were not on private property when you shouldn’t have been, or you did not break into a person’s house to steal their belongings. Instead, you walked in a public area, visited a friend’s house, lounged on your own property, or otherwise stayed in areas you had a right to be.

The person you want to sue must own the animal that attacked you. If he or she merely handled the animal at the time, your case becomes more complicated. Consult your lawyer for more details.

Some other considerations may make your case more complicated, but they do not necessarily deny you compensation. For example, if the pet owner takes steps to limit the animal’s movements and warn passersby of its presence, the courts may side with the owner. However, if the limits on the animal do not restrict it from moving into public spaces, then you still have a case.

Additionally, if the owner in question knows that his or her pet has a history of violence and still does not control the animal, you may have the right to increased compensation. Talk to your lawyer to learn more about your options. He or she can assess the evidence and past lawsuits to help you take the next step.

Collect Proof and Build a Case

You should hire an experienced animal attack attorney at this point, if you haven’t done so already. You can certainly represent yourself in court, but you will achieve a much better outcome if you work with a legal expert and it will be less stressful too. Lawyers have worked with the complexities of animal attack laws before, and they have also built cases. Rely on their experience so you can get through this process quickly and easily.

Because lawyers have previously worked on animal attack cases, they’ll direct you on what evidence to get from your doctor. They may also ask you to take pictures of the injury and of the site where you got it. Your lawyer may also take these photos himself or herself. You may also need statements from any witnesses and first responders, if applicable.

Once you have all this information, your legal advisor will help you make your case.

Find Out How Much Compensation You Can Sue For

When you receive restitution for an animal attack, the pet’s owner pays for more than just your injury. Your compensation could also cover:

  • Any hospital or specialist visits in addition to the original emergency room visit
  • Medications
  • Therapy, both physical and emotional
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and psychological
  • Lost wages from lost work
  • Damage done to any property, such as clothing

With most of the points on this list, you have a concrete amount of financial compensation that you can ask for. However, with more general terms like pain and suffering, you will have to ask your lawyer. He or she will help you research a just amount.

When someone else’s pet attacks you, you deserve financial recompense for what happened. Contact the dog bite attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett. We will use the steps noted above in this blog to start the process for you.

October 27, 2020

STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE AFTER A DOG BITE INJURY

While dogs may be man’s best friend, it is true that not all dogs get along with humans. In fact, reports show that dog bite incidents are pretty common with an average of 4.5 million dog attacks yearly.

Most dog attacks can be prevented, and it is important to know how to approach an animal you are unfamiliar with. However, some attacks are a result of the negligence or recklessness of a dog owner. If this is the case, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the owner to you help cover medical or property damage expenses.

How you respond to the attack is critical, no matter what caused the attack. Remember to take these steps after you have been involved in a dog bite attack.

Move to a Sheltered Area

A good amount of dog bite attacks occur when an animal feels threatened or territorial. To reduce the risk of additional injuries after the initial attack, you should move to a protected area quickly, preferably something inside if it is available to you.

If the dog stays at the scene and continues to be aggressive, you should walk away slowly without turning your back to the animal. And, running away could make the dog see you as prey, and they may actually chase after you.

Assess the Injury

Dog bite injuries can range in seriousness – from just a nip to a more serious injury that requires surgery. As quickly as possible, you need to assess the severity of your injuries. If you do not have any broken skin or you have broken skin with no bleeding, you can clean and bandage the injury site yourself.

If you are bleeding, you should place a clean towel over the affected area and apply pressure. If the blood stops by itself, go ahead and clean the wound with water and an antiseptic before applying a bandage.

Pay attention to the shape of the wounded area. Puncture wounds from an animal’s teeth are prone to infection. So, even if the injury seems minor, you may want to seek medical attention. Your medical provider may need update your vaccinations or think it is necessary for you to have a prescription to prevent any potential infection.

If the bleeding does not stop with applied pressure, you should go immediately to the emergency room.

If you perform some initial first aid to your wounds, take pictures of all of your injuries. You may need photos for your insurance company or any personal injury claim proceedings in the future.

Gather Information About the Accident

It is important to collect information about the accident. As with any accident, law enforcement or legal representatives may need this type of information in the future. If you can get it, you should take down the name, address, and contact information of the dog’s owner.

If you have the chance to speak to the dog’s owner, you want to ask for the dog’s vet information so you can double check with them and make sure that the dog is up to date on their vaccinations and isn’t suffering from transmittable disease.

Also ask for contact information from any witnesses that may have seen the incident. If you need to file a personal injury claim, witness statements could support your account of the incident and your attorney may need to contact them further.

File a Report

Once any necessary medical treatment has been received, you should file a dog bite report. This report can be made to your local animal control provider or city or county officials. You should include as much information as possible in your report, but estimate or guess at the facts, just state them as you know them. For example, include as detailed of a description of the dog’s behavior as you can remember, but do not speculate on conditions that the dog may have exhibited.

Your report may corroborate other reports regarding the same animal, which could indicate an aggressive pattern of behavior that the owner is responsible for controlling. The report will also help the proper official to enforce leash laws and other relevant laws and restrictions.

Record Changes in Your Symptoms

As you start to recover from the injuries you sustained, pay attention to additional symptoms. Nerve damage, which is serious, may not be immediately apparent. Also, follow any medical order you received from the physician at your initial visit and seek immediate attention for any new medical symptoms. If you should develop any new visible injuries from the attack, be sure to take more pictures as/if injuries appear.

Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer

Not every dog attack will qualify as a personal injury, use these guidelines to minimize your injuries from a dog attack and make decisions about a claim. If you are unsure how to proceed, you should consult a personal injury lawyer with experience handling animal attack cases. At Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP we offer free consultations before any claim is filed. So, if you are unsure about your rights and how to procced, call our office at 252-378-2525 and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced, reputable attorneys today.