Dog Bites in Lafayette: What You Need to Know
Dog Bite Injuries are severe injuries that leave the victim physically injured and potentially emotionally scarred. In areas of Lafayette, dog bite injuries can occur when a pet escapes from someone’s backyard. Many dogs are excellent human companions, but there are still many instances of dog bites and attacks each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that dogs bite an estimated 4.5 million people each year in the U.S. Children are particularly susceptible, but any person may become a victim. If a dog bit you or your child, know that you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Most states adhere to one of two legal theories in which a dog bite victim can hold a dog owner liable for damages: negligence and strict liability. Cueria Law Firm has many years of experience with handling these cases.
Negligence and Strict Liability
- Negligence: Under foundational negligence theories, dog owners are only accountable for damages when the victim can show that the owner was negligent in the control or restraining of the dog.
- Strict liability: Under the theory of strict liability, a much more victim-friendly rule, the victim has only to show that the dog hurt her; demonstrating negligence is not necessary. In strict liability states, dog owners are responsible for the damages their dog causes.
How Do You Prove Negligence in an Animal Bite Case?
There are two things you need to prove in order to successfully secure a settlement after a dog bite. First, you need to prove liability. You can accomplish this with eyewitness testimonies, photographic or video evidence, and personal testimony.
You can also include physical evidence such as frayed leashes, broken gates, and other proof of owner negligence. If the dog has a history of aggression or attacks, prior animal control records for the dog might be on file and neighbors may be able to provide testimony. All of these items can strengthen your case.
Second, you will need to prove all of your damages in order receive compensation for them. Insurance companies train their employees to reduce payouts, so they might try to offer you a settlement that is far lower than what you deserve. You will need to produce bills, receipts, and proof of lost wages to demonstrate your monetary damages.
You can also use your medical files and medical and mental health expert witnesses to testify as to the depth and scope of your physical and mental injuries.
In the interim, you will also want to take pictures of your injuries, which can be very convincing to an insurance adjuster or jury. Keep a daily injury journal as well to document:
Your injury and treatments
Your pain levels
How your injuries are affecting your day-to-day life
We can use this information to build your case and fight for a full and fair recovery.