When An Animal Attacks…
Q: What should I do if I have been attacked by an animal?
A: First of all, seek medical care for your injuries. Almost as important is to get as much information about the animal and its owner as possible. If attacked by a wild animal or an animal that you cannot identify, your doctor may insist that you get protective rabies shots, a painful experience.
Q: What if the animal that attacked me has an owner?
A: If, for example, you were attacked by a dog belonging to someone, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If possible, get some basic information about the owner of the dog, such as his name, address, telephone number, and insurance information. Act much in the same way you would act after having a traffic accident with another driver.
Q: How do I make a claim for my injuries?
A: Making a claim for injuries caused by an animal attack is usually a matter of contacting the insurance company of the animal’s owner. Although the insurer will likely try to convince you that you do not need an attorney, don’t listen to that bad advice. It is in the insurance company’s best interest to talk you out of getting legal help. For that reason, make sure to consult with an attorney to protect your rights. You are ALWAYS entitled to talk to a lawyer.
Q: Do I have to show that the animal was vicious in order to recover?
A: Sometimes. If you are bitten by a dog that has never shown signs of aggression. Such an owner might be able to argue that he could not have prevented the attack. Since he had no reason to know that the dog would bite.
In contrast, if the attack is by a guard dog or a dog bred for aggression or fighting (like pit bulls). Assuming the animal has shown aggression in the past, the owner will probably be liable. Certainly, for not taking the necessary steps to prevent your injuries. Hence, the best way to pursue a claim arising out of an animal attack is with a lawyer. One who can help you determine the precise scope of your rights under a given set of facts.
Q: Assuming I have a claim, what kind of compensation can I recover?
A: The answer depends very much on the facts of your case. Certainly, you should be able to recover your medical expenses. Also any wages you lost if your injuries rendered you unable to work. If the attack has left you scarred or disfigured. Probably enabling you to recover the costs of any cosmetic surgery necessary to correct the problem.
Also possibly be entitled to something for your pain and suffering, and, in truly terrible cases…You may even be able to recover “extra” damages to punish the animal’s owner if he is guilty of serious negligence or wrongdoing.
Q: What will happen to the animal and his owner? Will they get in criminal trouble?
A: Here again, the facts determine the answer. If the attack was by an otherwise good-natured family pet with no history of prior attacks. Probably nothing will happen to the dog or its owner. However, if the dog has a history of attacking people, the authorities may find that it is dangerous and have it “put down.”
A new law enacted in Texas after several high-profile dog attacks make it possible for the animal’s owner to be held criminally liable. Especially in cases involving wrongful death and serious personal injury. But, as with all things legal, the facts will determine the outcome.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at the Street Law Firm, if you or someone you know has been injured in an animal attack. Or if you just have questions about an animal attack you have been injured in. Click here to contact our legal team.