DC Dog Bite Attorney
While some dog breeds are considered more dangerous than others, any dog can bite and may do so if provoked or scared. However, some dogs may bite or attack even when unprovoked. Washington, DC dog bite laws require owners to be responsible for their pets; that includes keeping dogs controlled by leashes in public and confined or restrained on personal property. If an owner’s failure to properly restrain or control his or her animal results in a dog bite or attack, the owner may be held civilly liable for the attack. With the help of an experienced DC dog bite lawyer, injured victims can claim financial compensation for their dog bite injuries and they can work to ensure that those responsible for the dog are made to address whatever hazardous or negligent conditions led to the attack.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with half of the victims being children. Of those bitten, roughly one in five — nearly 900,000 people — require medical attention. Again, half of these victims are kids. The CDC also estimates that a staggering 27,000 people had to undergo reconstructive surgery as the result of a dog attack in 2012.
The American Humane Association cites similar figures, and estimates that nearly 25 percent of fatal dog attacks involved chained dogs and that the U.S. insurance industry pays more than $1 billion in dog-bite claims each year.
The CDC notes there are a number of factors that contribute to dog bites and attacks, and that those most likely to suffer a dog bite are children, particularly those under the age of 10. That is most often due to their small size, vulnerability, and lack of experience with animals. Adult males and people who live in a home with a dog or dogs are also most often at risk.
Preventing Dog Bites
Experts advise that there are a number of steps that you can and should take to prevent dog attacks.
Before you bring a dog into your home:
- Work with a local animal shelter, rescue group of breeder to find the breed best suited to your needs and family.
- Contact a vet, or other animal expert, to identify a reputable dog trainer.
- Spend time with the dog before adopting or purchasing the animal.
- Use caution when bringing a dog into a home with small children, infants.
Once you bring a dog into your home:
- Spay/neuter your dog
- Never leave infants and young children alone with the animal.
- Properly socialize and train the animal.
- Immediately seek professional advice if the dog shows aggressive behavior.
- Teach your kids some basic safety measures and review them often.
According to the CDC, dog bites are largely preventable public health problems. Nonetheless, such attacks are common and if you have been bitten by a dog that was negligently cared for or looked after, a qualified DC dog bite lawyer will understand not only the gravity of your injury at the time of the attack, but also any long-term health issues you may have to deal with that are not immediately obvious in the traumatic aftermath of such an incident. Your attorney will push for compensation that will cover a variety of needs, including medical bills, psychiatric counseling, reconstructive surgery, lost wages from missed work, and other harms and losses you may have suffered. If those responsible for the animal are not willing to settle on these issues, your lawyer will be well-prepared to take your fight to court, where he will rely upon his skill and experience to aggressively litigate your dog bite claim. This is important not only for your needs, but for the needs of your community as it will require the dog’s owners, and any other responsible parties, to immediately correct whatever negligent actions or inaction led to the attack.
DC Dog Bite Laws
DC dog bite statutes do not adhere to the “one free bite” rule. This means an owner can be held accountable even if the dog has never bitten anyone before. However, rules of contributory negligence can make dog bite claims difficult to pursue. In broad terms, contributory negligence is the responsibility of the victim in the incident. For example, if someone was bitten while trespassing on property where a dangerous dog lives, he or she may not be able to obtain compensation for those dog bite injuries. A skilled DC dog bite lawyer will explore every facet of your case, and will determine whether or not you have a valid claim. If that is the case, your attorney can help you pursue financial compensation from the dog’s owners and other potential responsible parties.
Contact Price Benowitz Today
To find a dog bite attorney in DC who is passionate about securing the compensation that you require, contact the personal injury attorneys at Price Benowitz LLP. Our dedicated team of lawyers work to protect injured victims by fighting for maximum compensation. We also represent clients in dog bite cases outside of the District of Columbia. To learn more about legal representation in Maryland, please visit the following page. Alternatively, if you are looking for legal counsel in Virginia, information can be found here.