Dog Bites & Animal Negligence
Under common law, it is often said that the first victim of a dog bite cannot recover in a negligence suit as the victim would have to prove that the owner had prior knowledge of its dog's vicious behavior which is difficult to prove if the dog has no history of prior attacks. This is often known as the “First Bite Law.”
While a plaintiff still has the right to proceed with a case under this law, an alternative was enacted when New Hampshire State Legislature relieved this burden from the injured party by passing a dog bite statute (RSA 466:19). This new law states that an individual who owns or keeps a dog can be held responsible for any damages, so long as the plaintiff didn’t trespass or commit some other offense.
Have questions regarding how this impacts your dog bite case? Call our New Hampshire personal injury attorney at (603) 883-4100.Understanding Strict Liability Law
Strict liability law means in the event that a dog bites or attacks a person, the owner of the dog will be held legally responsible for any injuries or harm caused by the dog.
If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, and you were not trespassing or committing a crime, the dog owner is required to cover damages for your:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Decreased quality of life
With this strict liability law, you do not need to prove that the owner knew that the dog was vicious or had aggressive tendencies. You also do not need to prove negligence or fault on the part of the dog owner.
In addition, you may be eligible to recover for damages caused by a dog even if physical contact or a bite was not made. For example, if a dog frightens a victim and causes him or her to fall or flip off a bicycle or anything else which causes injury, the dog’s actions could be classified as malicious or vicious.
It is also important to note that an injured party's compensation may be reduced if the injured party's actions contributed to the attack. For example, if someone was taunting a dog immediately preceding the attack then they would be found partially at fault. In order to recover, the injured party has to be under 50% at fault. If the injured party is found 51% or more at fault, they are not entitled to recover damages.Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
The most common injury sustained in a dog bite attack is scarring. The full extent of a scar is often not known until one year after the accident pending a scar review. Some bite injuries and scarring are so severe that plastic surgery is required. The second most common injury sustained in a dog attack is emotional distress.
Other common injuries include:
- Eye injuries
- Muscle tears
- Loss of feeling
Being attacked by any animal can have significant psychological impact upon a person, especially if the victim is a child.Representing Victims of Other Animal Attacks
Animal attacks are not limited to just dogs. Our firm has been handling cases involving animal attacks for a long time. We have had previous clients who have been bitten by a domestic deer at a petting zoo and attacked by a cat they were trying to rescue for an older lady. If you’ve sustained injuries, don’t take it lightly. Our firm can review your case and help you determine if you have a claim worth pursuing.Have You Been Attacked? Call (603) 883-4100.
A dog bite injury is a very traumatic event that no one deserves to endure. If you or a loved one have been bitten or attacked by a dog, the law is on your side. You are entitled to collect damages for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, and scarring.
Our New Hampshire personal injury lawyer has handled dog and animal attack cases with success over the years. We promise to exhaust all possible resources to help you and your family to recover maximum compensation possible when you retain our firm.
To set up a free consultation with the Injury Law Center®, call (603) 883-4100. We are ready to help.