Dog Bite Injuries
Minneapolis Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Animal attacks are often traumatic and even life altering, especially if a child is involved. A dog bite can cause significant damage, especially to children. This can result in costly surgeries and even therapy to correct the harm. If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by another person’s dog or pet, there are legal options you can take to receive compensation for the attack.
At Woods & Thompson, P.A., our personal injury attorneys understand the physical and emotional scarring that can result from a dog bite or animal attack. We work to ensure that you or your child’s scars and injuries receive the treatment needed to make the fullest recovery possible, while we fight to ensure that those medical bills and pain are compensated.
Many victims of dog bites are attacked by the dog of a friend, family member, or neighbor. While most people want to avoid a claim against someone they know and love, it is important that the treatments you or your child needs are covered.
We will work through the individual’s insurance policies, finding coverage for your medical bills. After years of paying premiums, insurance is there to provide benefits when you need it. We will seek maximum compensation from the insurance companies.
We are known and trusted throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin by clients whom we have helped recover. Doctors respect our work and routinely refer patients to us for representation. Our staff of personal injury lawyers provide individualized care and attention on each case, committed to recovering everything that the client is entitled to.
If you have been involved in a dog bite or an attack, then we urge you to reach out to Woods & Thompson, P.A. to hire a personal injury lawyer.
First Steps After A Dog Bite Injury
Treating The Physical Injury
Immediately after a dog bite or animal attack, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Dog bites and animal attacks can be particularly dangerous because they can cause serious injuries, infections, and even death if the animal has a disease.
When visiting the doctor, it’s important to mention whether the person attacked has a suppressed immune system or health condition that puts them at a greater risk of infection. These conditions include diabetes, liver disease, and other autoimmune disorders.
Also mention whether or not you know the dog’s owner and if the dog is up to date on their shots. This will affect the type of antibiotic that the doctor will prescribe, and they may require a test for rabies.
After visiting the doctor, you should continue to treat the injury at home by:
- Stop any bleeding by using clean, dry towels
- Keep the injury elevated
- Gently wash the bite with soap and warm water
- Keep the injury bandaged
- Apply antibiotic ointment daily to prevent or fight infection
Treating Emotional Trauma
Something else to keep an eye out for — especially if it was your child who was attacked — is whether or not the attack also caused emotional trauma. In children, these symptoms include:
- Lack of sleep
- Social withdrawal
- Bed wetting
- Clinginess to parents
It’s important to seek emotional therapy for your child if they experience emotional trauma after their dog bite because it can interfere with normal development.
Other symptoms of emotional trauma, which could happen in children or adults, include:
- An intense fear of dogs
- Damage to self-esteem if scarring causes disfigurement
- Agoraphobia, where the person will avoid certain people or places to avoid anxiety
- Flashbacks, where the person feels like they’re reliving the event
- PTSD, where the trauma affects the person’s ability to function in daily life due to triggers
It’s important to understand that a dog bite or animal attack could affect the injured person emotionally as much as it affects them physically. Find a counselor who can help you or your child develop coping strategies to manage the emotional responses to the trauma and resulting triggers.
If you or your child is experiencing emotional trauma due to a dog bite injury or animal attack, seek a personal injury lawyer for counsel. They may be able to recover damages related to the emotional injuries you or your child has sustained. Contact Woods & Thompson, P.A. today to schedule your consultation.
Seeking Legal Counsel
The stress involved in the aftermath of dealing with a dog bite injury can take its toll on you or your child. When initially dealing with the physical and emotional repercussions though, it’s important to document as much evidence as possible to share with a personal injury lawyer.
You can gather evidence by:
- Taking photos of the bite marks or other injuries
- Taking photos of the dog
- Hanging on to clothing that was damaged from the animal attack
- Gathering witness statements
- Getting information from the dog owner about the breed, any aggressive propensities, and if the dog is up to date on their shots
Once you’ve sought medical attention and gathered evidence, it’s important to meet with a personal injury lawyer to find out if you have a legitimate claim and what types of damages can be recovered. Remember, even if you know the individual whose dog bit you or your child, it’s still important to make sure you’re compensated for any physical or emotional injuries from the animal attack. If you or your child in Minnesota or Wisconsin has sustained a dog bite injury, contact Woods & Thompson, P.A. to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.
Dog Owner Liability
There are a couple of different laws that different states impose in the case of a dog bite injury.
One law is the “strict liability” rule, which means that the owner of the dog is liable for the injuries that their dog causes even if they are unaware that the dog can act aggressively.
The other law is the “one bite” rule, which requires that the owner knows that their dog has aggressive tendencies in order for them to be liable if their dog bites or attacks someone.
In both Wisconsin and Minnesota, the “strict liability” rule is imposed, which means that the dog owner is liable for all injuries that the dog caused regardless of whether or not they knew the dog was aggressive.
There are a few other stipulations required for the “strict liability” rule to be enforced. This rule requires that:
- The person bitten was in a place they were legally allowed to be, such as a public place or legally on private property
- The person attacked was “acting peaceably”
- The person bitten did not provoke the dog
If these requirements are met, the owner of the dog will be liable for injuries. It is important to note that injuries doesn’t just cover dog bites. If the animal jumps on the person, knocks them over, and causes injuries from the fall, the owner will also be responsible for these injuries.
Other Responsible Parties
Not every dog bite or animal attack is the same. It’s important to understand how different circumstances could affect your claim and who else may be liable depending on the events that transpired.
Other people who could be held responsible for the dog bite injury include:
- A kennel, pound, or animal sitter who was caring for the dog at the time of the injury
- The parents of a minor if the minor is the owner of the dog
- A property owner that allowed the dog to live on their property
- A landlord of an apartment complex could be liable if they knew that the dog was aggressive
It’s important to consider these other parties, especially if you plan on consulting with a personal injury lawyer about the injuries you or your child sustained from a dog bite or animal attack. It’s important that we have as much information as possible about the events and people involved so we can decide on the legal claim that you have and what type of damages can be recovered.
Whether or not you know this information, it’s still important for you to contact a personal injury lawyer. If you’re in Minnesota or Wisconsin, contact Woods & Thompson, P.A. today.
As stated, there are certain conditions that must apply for the dog owner to be liable for their animal’s attack. If the person bitten was somewhere they weren’t supposed to be when they were bitten, if they were acting aggressively, or they provoked the dog, then the dog owner may not be liable because they were not the ones at fault for their dog attacking another person.
For example, if the dog owner knows that their dog has aggressive tendencies and warns another person to stay away from their dog, but the person approaches the dog anyway and is bitten, the owner would not be liable. In this situation, the behavior of the person who was injured would be considered “contributory negligence” or “assumption of risk.” This means that, even though they received warnings about the dog, they still acted without care for their own safety.
Another instance where the dog owner could claim “contributory negligence” or “assumption of risk” is when a person climbs over a fence and is bitten by a dog on the other side. If the jury believes that a reasonable person would not behave in this way, the dog owner will not be held liable.
A similar example would be if the dog owner hangs a sign outside of their gate that says “Beware of Dog,” but a person ignores the sign and is bitten. This would be another situation where the dog owner could claim “contributory negligence” or “assumption of risk.”
While these circumstances may not be the case in your or your child’s dog bite injury, it’s important to understand the kind of defense that the owner of the dog may claim against you. Knowing that they have the potential to make these claims, it’s important to have proper representation for your case. At Woods & Thompson, P.A., we have experience with a variety of dog bite and animal attack claims, so contact us today if you or your child has sustained a personal injury from an animal attack.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
Depending on the extent of you or your child’s personal injuries from a dog bite, you could be entitled to different the recovery of different damages. These types of damages include:
- Medical expenses, including emotional therapy
- Lost wages if you missed work due to your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage if the animal also damaged your property or belongings
- Punitive damages
For punitive damages to be awarded, it must be proven that the owner was aware of their dog’s aggressive behavior but continued to allow them to run freely in areas where people or children are. This includes schools, parks, and other public areas. Punitive damages are specifically meant to punish the owner for their intentional negligence.
Find Legal Help In The Twin Cities
Whether you or your child has sustained a physical or emotional injury from a dog bite or animal attack, seeking the help of a personal injury lawyer can help you receive awards for damages that will help you cover medical expenses, damaged property, and other losses.
If you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, Woods & Thompson, P.A. could be the perfect team to represent you. Contact our office in the Twin Cities today to schedule a consultation.
WOODS & THOMPSON, P.A.
941 Hillwind Road N.E. Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55432
Phone: 763-571-2345 Fax: 763-571-2893
OUR FIRM WAS FOUNDED ON A SINGLE PRINCIPLE: PUT THE CLIENT FIRST. WE MAKE SURE THAT OUR CLIENTS GET 100% OF THE COMPENSATION THEY DESERVE.
Woods & Thompson, P.A., of Minneapolis, Minnesota, provides representation in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Roseville, New Brighton, Brooklyn Center, Fridley, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Champlin, Lino Lakes, White Bear Lake, Woodbury, Oakdale, Golden Valley, Plymouth, Maplewood, Inver Grove, Eagan, Bloomington, Edina, Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Burnsville and Apple Valley. The firm also represents clients throughout western Wisconsin, including Hudson, River Falls and Superior.
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