Have you been attached and injured by a dangerous dog in Washington DC?
If yes, then you might be entitled to compensation. Speak with our experts at TorkLaw and find out how we can help you receive compensation for damages.
According to a survey from the American Veterinary Medical Association, pet ownership in Washington DC is only 21.9%.
Regardless of the low pet ownership %, many people in Washington DC every year suffer from injuries because of animal attacks. More often than not, these attacks are carried out by dogs, with the majority of victims being young children. Dog owners have a responsibility to care for, walk, and feed their pets, and at the same time, they are liable in the event where their dog attacks someone. If your child or yourself have been victims of a dog attack in the Washington DC area, contact TorkLaw for assistance.
What to Do If You Suffer a Dog Attack
Dog attacks can be a very traumatic experience, physically and mentally. Many people are not aware they have rights in this situation. Working with the right team will allow you to seek proper compensation.
- Get Medical Attention – if you cannot seek medical help, then find someone nearby or call someone to help you immediately. Locate the dog owner and get as much information as you can. For example, the owner should know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies. Otherwise, you might have to undergo precautionary treatment; if your injuries are severe, call 911 immediately.
- Take pictures – Not everyone will be in a position to gather evidence while waiting for help to arrive. However, if you have your phone on you and can move around, it might help take a picture of the wound, location, dog, and any other evidence that can support you later to claim the right compensation.
- Report the incident to the proper authorities – After receiving any medical attention you need, file a report with the appropriate authorities, so the incident is now on record. Filing a report will help you and your legal team when you file for compensation, and at the same time, it can help with any future unfortunate events where the same dog exhibits similar behavior.
- Contact your legal team – in the Washington DC area, victims of dog bites have a limited time to act and seek compensation. It is best to get your legal team on the case as soon as possible.
Liable Parties for a Dog Bite Injury
A lot of people are under the impression that all dogs have ‘one bite free pass.’ This is simply not true. A dog owner is fully responsible for the behavior of their dog. Many people used to believe that all dogs need a ‘record’ on file in order to be able to defend their case that the owner was aware of their dog’s aggressive behavior.
Aggressive or vicious behavior is demonstrated through various actions such as chasing after people, bearing teeth, and attacking people even when no injuries have incurred. Owners have a responsibility to have their dog on a leash in public areas and pay attention to their dog’s behavior to ensure everyone’s safety around their dog.
Contributory negligence is a term used to describe any action or lack of action from the person who has suffered injuries that could have played a part in the dog exhibiting aggressive behavior. Washington DC is a contributory action area. Therefore, keep in mind that if the defense can prove that the victim taunted the dog and provoked the aggressive behavior, then the chances for compensation are slim. It is always best to have experienced attorneys by your side to ensure that no one on the defense minimizes the case and prevents you from seeking the compensation you deserve.
Building the Case After a Dog Bite
In some cases, it can be straightforward, and dog owners fully cooperate with the investigation. In other cases, victims have to consider private investigators who can obtain photographs and locate eyewitnesses to support the claim.
Often private investigators can locate evidence that the dog owner had knowledge of the aggressive behavior and did not take enough precautions to prevent it from happening.
It is also expected that dog owners and their legal team will try to argue that the victim somehow provoked the animal to attack them. They can say this by claiming that the victim did not ‘read’ the animal, or that the victim moved way too close, etc.
TorkLaw will help you fight against these arguments, and we will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. To help your legal team support your case, keep records of all the expenses and damage caused by the dog bite.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Claim After a Dog Bite
- Pain and suffering – It is your right to get compensated for any mental and physical anguish and pain you have experienced because of the dog bite.
- Loss of earnings – If the injuries are severe enough and you can not work for some time or indefinitely (depending on the type of work you do), you are entitled to get compensated. Loss of earnings can include wages, bonuses, commissions, etc.
- Permanent disability/disfigurement – If someone’s work directly deals with the public or works as a model in entertainment and other roles where their physical appearance is linked to their position, they are entitled to seek damages for losing the ability to continue working.
- When dealing with children who have suffered a bite, surgeons will not operate until later in life. In many cases, revision surgeries need to be performed in early adulthood. This situation can cause a lot of pain and suffering for a child and hurts their confidence, with social and emotional scarring.
- Medical expenses – Any medical expenses that result from treating the dog bite are eligible for compensation. These expenses include hospital bills, medicine, rehabilitation care, etc.