You can know a dog for its entire lifetime and still not be able to predict its behavior, even under the absolute best of circumstances. This is not to say that you shouldn't be comfortable in the presence of dogs, but dog bite victims are all too aware of the fact that absolutely nothing is certain. If you have been bitten by a dog, there will be related medical expenses to pay, at a bare minimum. To determine whether hiring a personal injury lawyer is advisable, compare the following five factors to your particular case and see how things add up.
1. Notoriously Aggressive Dog Breeds - Dogs that are known to be highly aggressive aren't notorious just because they are more likely to cause property damage and physical injury—they are also likely to maim, permanently disable, or even cause death to their victims in extreme instances. When a person assumes ownership of a dog that is more likely to be aggressive towards humans, it is assumed that they know what they are getting themselves into, including being liable for any injuries that their dog may cause.
2. Public Settings Versus Private Property - Any personal injury attorney will tell you that there is a major difference between dog bite injury cases that take place on private versus public property. In public settings, dogs must be leashed and restrained at all times. If a dog were to bite you while walking through a public park or crossing a roadway, you would almost certainly be awarded compensation for your injuries. Being bitten by a dog on private property can be a little less cut and dry, as trespassing or behaving in an unseemly manner can actually cause you to be deemed as being at least partially at fault.
3. Verbal or Written Warnings - It's one thing if you have been bitten by a dog that you are familiar with after the owner gave you permission to pet it. On the other hand, some dog bite injuries come as a result of the victim failing to heed the owner's written and verbal warnings. If any verbal instructions were ignored or written signs posted were overlooked in your case, your lawyer may encourage you to attempt to reach a settlement agreement.
4. Assumption of Responsibility - A lot of people who get bit by dogs are actually on friendly terms with the other party in their cases. You may have been bitten by the dog of a neighbor or even one of your childhood friends. If the owner of the dog who caused you injuries is willing to assume responsibility voluntarily, your lawyer will be able to resolve your case swiftly. At the end of the day, you may also be able to retain your personal relationship with the owner of the dog who bit you.
5. Severity of Dog Bite Wounds - Some dog bite victims only need a few stitches and an antibiotic to get back on their feet. Then there are dog bite victims who require reconstructive surgery, physical therapy, and years of counseling before they are able to start feeling like themselves again. It is vital that you go over the severity of your injuries with your lawyer so that you can pursue an amount of monetary compensation that is on par with the extent of your injuries.