Dog Bite Injuries
Baton Rouge Dog Bite Lawyer
Most of the time, dogs are our sweet, furry friends who would never cause any harm. However, there are aggressive dogs out there, and sometimes they do attack. A dog attack can cause serious injuries and disfigurement that may require plastic surgery. Severe dog bites can result in thousands of dollars of medical expenses and lost wages for the victims and family members involved. The good news is that victims can recover a decent amount of compensation through a dog bite claim. A Baton Rouge dog bite lawyer at our law firm can help you obtain justice for your trauma.
The Law Offices of Ossie Brown is a top-notch personal injury and criminal defense law firm in Baton Rouge, LA. We have what it takes to successfully litigate any type of personal injury case, including a dog bite injury. Call us today at 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation.
How Many Dog Bites Happen Every Year?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), more than 4.5 million Americans suffer from dog bites every year, and approximately 800,000 of those dog bite victims seek medical attention.
Medical treatment for dog bite injuries could range between a few stitches and reconstructive surgery. It all depends on the severity of the dog attack.
Unfortunately, a child is the most common victim of a dog attack. Additionally, children are the most likely to suffer from severe dog-related injuries. That’s because most children love dogs and don’t know any better. They may see a cute dog at the park, try to pet it or play with it, and not recognize its aggressive behavior until it’s too late.
What is Considered a Dangerous Dog in Louisiana?
Louisiana RS 14:102:14 defines a dangerous dog as one that:
- Required someone to defend themselves from two separate dog bite incidents over the last 3 years while not being on the dog owner’s property.
- Attacked or bit a person without being provoked first.
- Caused severe injuries or death to another animal at least twice over the last 3 years while not on the dog owner’s property.
Dogs that are trained to serve in search and rescue missions and in the local police department are the only ones exempt from these rules.
Louisiana Dog Leash Laws
If a Louisianan owns a dog that fits the “dangerous dog” criteria, they must do what they can to protect the public from further attacks.
Firstly, owners of dangerous dogs must restrain their animal on a leash at all times while out in public. They must also keep their dog inside their house, a pen, or a fenced yard while it’s on private property. Lastly, a dangerous dog owner must have an appropriate warning sign on their property that says something like “beware of dog” or “dangerous dog.” Failure to follow these rules, especially after a previous animal attack, can result in penalties.
Dog Bite Laws in Louisiana
Each state differs in dog bite rules. Some states follow the “one bite rule,” which basically means that a dog owner has one free bite before victims can file a personal injury claim for their dog’s aggressive behavior.
Dog bite law is different in Louisiana. Our state is considered a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. This means that if you or a loved one is attacked by a dog unprovoked, and if you had permission to be on the property, the dog owner may be held liable for the injuries you sustained. However, in dog bite cases where it can be proved that the dog was provoked or the dog bite recipient was trespassing, potential monetary awards may be reduced or even eliminated altogether.
This is why it’s best to have an experienced attorney on your side. The Law Offices of Ossie Brown can review your case, determine if you have grounds to sue the dog owner, and calculate the approximate amount of damages you could receive.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Many dog bite victims suffer a serious injury from their attack. Common injuries sustained from dog bites include:
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Deep lacerations and puncture wounds in the face, head, neck, and limbs
- Nerve damage
- Eye damage and/or vision loss
- Infections and viruses such as rabies or tetanus
- Finger or toe amputations
- Emotional trauma such as PTSD, increased anxiety around animals, depression, panic attacks, etc.
- In rare cases, wrongful death
If you have suffered one or more of these injuries in your dog bite case, you have grounds to contact a Baton Rouge dog bite lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown. Our experienced legal team has been successfully litigating dog bite injury claims for decades. We empathize with the physical and emotional trauma sustained from a serious attack, and we can help you receive appropriate compensation from the owner of the dog.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
Most dogs are sweet, loving, gentle, and generally harmless, no matter the situation. However, just like humans, some dogs have “triggers” that can set off aggressive behavior. For example, dog attacks occur if a dog:
- Senses a stressful situation,
- Feels scared or threatened,
- Is trying to play through growling, biting, and nipping,
- Feels unwell due to an illness or injury,
- Feels protective over its food, puppies, owners, property, toys, etc.
Dogs can also become aggressive if they have abusive owners. Dogs that suffer physical abuse may be very hyperactive, aggressive, and just scared of all people. So if someone sees an abused dog in public and tries to pet them, the dog may try to protect itself by becoming aggressive.
What Are the Most Common Types of Dogs That Engage in Attacks?
It’s important to note that any dog can bite or become aggressive, no matter its breed. Most breeds of dogs are not more inherently dangerous than other breeds. Dog aggression is very individual and dependent on the dog’s history and wellbeing.
However, some dog breeds are known to engage in more attacks and violence than others. According to dog bite/attack data compiled by the AVMA between the years of 1979 and 1998, the following dog breeds have engaged in the most violence:
- Pit Bull
- Wolf-Dog Hybrids
- Saint Bernards
- Great Danes
- Chow Chows
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
If I Am Attacked By a Dog, Who Can I Sue?
A dog bite victim can either sue the dog’s owner or the property owner for their injuries. In many cases, the dog owner and the property owner are the same person, because many dog bite injury claims occur on the dog owner’s property.
As stated previously, dog bite victims who trespass on private property and/or provoke the dog may not have a strong case against dog owners. The strongest dog bite claims are those that occur unprovoked and don’t involve trespassing. An experienced lawyer at our Baton Rouge law firm can analyze the specifics of your case and help you figure out if you have grounds to sue the dog’s owner.
When a Louisiana Dog Owner Would Be Liable for Damages in a Dog Bite Case
Canine attacks in Louisiana are generally based on negligence law. This means that the owner of the dog that caused serious injuries can be held liable if:
- They knew (or should have known) that their dog could become aggressive and cause injuries.
- The animal attack could have been prevented if they would have taken reasonable care such as keeping the dog on a leash, keeping the dog in a fenced area, or putting up a sign.
- They failed to take reasonable care to prevent serious injury upon the victim.
- The dog bite victim didn’t trespass and/or provoke the animal.
If you were bitten by a dog, a Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer can help you prove these elements of negligence.
Dog Attack Penalties in Louisiana
Dangerous dog owners who fail to follow Louisiana leash laws (and therefore fail to prevent a dog bite incident) can face a fine of $300 on top of the victim’s other damages. Dangerous dog owners may also be mandated to restrain or confine their dog in the future. If owners fail to do this, they could face another fine between $100 to $500.
Damages for Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite victims can potentially recover compensation for the following types of damages in a dog bite lawsuit:
- Past and future medical bills, including expenses related to plastic surgery (if the victim suffered significant disfigurement)
- Physical pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress related to the attack
- Mental health counseling in order to cope with emotional trauma related to the attack
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
Louisiana Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites
In Louisiana, victims of dog bites have one year from the day of their attack to file a claim against the dog’s owner. This is a tight window, so you should contact an experienced lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown as soon as you can. We offer a free consultation for all new personal injury clients.
How to Avoid Dog Attacks
All dog owners and potential victims must take reasonable care every day in order to prevent personal injuries from dog attacks.
- Follow Louisiana Leash Laws: Every single dog owner should do what they can to protect people from their dog by keeping it on a leash or behind an enclosed fence. If you have a dangerous dog, you must keep a “beware of dog” sign on your fence as well.
- Socialize Your Dog: Just like humans, dogs need a certain amount of socialization with other dogs their age and size. This can help them learn how to react better to all people and animals. Proper socialization can help lower the risk of aggressive behavior and violence. Be sure to keep your dog on a leash while they socialize for the sake of safety.
- Be Kind: Abused dogs are more likely to become violent towards other people and animals. So be sure to treat your dog with love and kindness. Additionally, if you see someone else mistreating their dog, say something. Animal abuse is never okay.
- Know When to Approach a Dog: When we see a dog at the park or in the neighborhood, our natural instinct is usually to pet them and give them love. But you shouldn’t do this for all dogs, especially if you think they may be sick or injured. Additionally, if you see a stray dog with no owner, or you see a dog growling or barking at you, you shouldn’t approach it. Lastly, you shouldn’t approach a dog if their owner asks you not to.
Call a Baton Rouge Dog Bite Lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie BrownIf you were bitten by a dog and you had to seek medical attention for your injuries, you have grounds to contact a Baton Rouge dog bite lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown. We can analyze the details of your case, inform you of your legal options, and help you obtain a fair settlement through a dog bite claim or through the dog owner’s insurance company. Our law firm has helped countless clients receive justice in their personal injury cases. We can do the same for you. Call us today at 225-343-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Let us review your case at no cost to you. We want to take the time to get to know you and understand your legal goals and objectives.
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