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How Long After a Dog Attack Can You Sue?

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January 31, 2024 Personal Injury

Dogs are affectionately referred to as “man’s best friend,” but sometimes, these best friends take a turn for the worse. Under certain circumstances, dogs can quickly go from sweet and loving to angry and aggressive. When this happens, you may suffer serious injuries that can affect your life in the long term.

If you’ve sustained injuries in a dog attack, do not wait to speak with a dog bite attorney. Time is limited to take legal action after a dog bite, and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to seek justice and compensation.

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What Causes a Dog to Attack?

How Long After a Dog Attack Can You Sue

Dogs attack for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s situational; other times, it’s based more on the dog’s breed and upbringing.

Some of the common reasons why dogs bite include:

  • Fear: Sometimes, when a dog is in fear, they’ll respond by attacking to protect themselves. When a dog is in fear, they may become overwhelmed and see no other option but to bite the individual they see as a threat.
  • Protecting/guarding: Some dogs bite to guard or protect something, from food and toys to their owners and caretakers. Regardless of breed, some dogs bite if they feel their home or space is being intruded upon, or a loved one is in danger.
  • Training: Dogs often need training to learn how to behave and not to behave. However, some owners train dogs to be aggressive, reinforcing dangerous behaviors from the time they’re puppies. Lack of training or improper training can both eventually lead to dog attacks.
  • Aggressive tendencies: Some dogs just have aggressive tendencies. Sometimes, they exhibit these behaviors from a young age, but other times, they don’t develop until the dog is older. If a dog begins to show dangerous tendencies, it’s up to the owner to address it immediately to prevent harm to others.
  • Dog breed: Certain dog breeds are more aggressive than others. Dog owners should inform themselves about their dog’s breed and work toward avoiding dangerous behaviors as they grow and mature.

Dog attacks can be provoked or unprovoked. Understanding the cause of your dog attack incident is important to determine whether you can hold the dog owner responsible and pursue compensation.

Dog Breeds Known to Be Aggressive or Dangerous

There is plenty of controversy surrounding the most aggressive types of dog breeds. However, some dog breeds are irrefutably aggressive, as exhibited by past research and instances of attack.

Getting straight answers regarding dangerous dog breeds is difficult, as every list features different dogs. Nonetheless, some of the more aggressive breeds of dog include:

  • Pitbull
  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Siberian Husky
  • Cane Corso
  • Chow Chow

The above breeds are large dogs, so it can be easy to imagine a big dog attacking and causing harm. Still, small dogs can also be some of the more violent dogs. Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, both small dog breeds, have been known to show aggressive tendencies and attack.

This is not to say the only types of dogs are the ones featured on “aggressive dog breed” lists. Almost every type of dog is capable of causing physical injury to humans, depending on the circumstances.

Common Injuries Resulting from a Dog Attack

Common Injuries Resulting from a Dog Attack

A dog attack can result in serious injuries. Not only can you experience a dog bite, but the overall situation may result in additional injuries. For example, if you’re running from the dog, you may trip and fall and suffer further harm. While the dog itself might not cause every single one of your injuries, the attack is what leads to your harm.

Some of the injuries dog attack victims are likely to sustain include, but are not limited to:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Facial injuries
  • Head trauma
  • Broken bones
  • Back injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries

Dog attack injuries typically require immediate medical attention. Even if you believe your injuries aren’t that serious, it’s critical to seek medical care from a healthcare professional as quickly as possible to assess your injuries and ensure you receive proper treatment.

Potential Complications from Dog Bite Injuries

Along with the short-term issues caused by dog attack injuries, these injuries can potentially worsen and cause long-term effects on your health and well-being. Some of the serious consequences that can result from dog attacks include:

  • Infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Muscle and tendon damage
  • Amputations
  • Chronic pain

Along with the physical effects of dog attack injuries, you may also experience mental and emotional disturbances. It’s not uncommon for victims of dog bite incidents to develop mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While receiving prompt medical care can lessen the chances of complications, you may still face the repercussions of your injuries. This is one of the reasons why seeking justice is so important for dog attack victims.

Who’s Liable for a Dog Attack Incident?

Generally, the dog’s owner is responsible for its actions and the injuries it inflicts. However, if the dog’s owner is not caring for the dog at the time of the incident, the dog’s caretaker can be found liable.

The matter of liability for dog bites relies upon the state’s laws on dog bites. States are typically either strict liability or “one bite rule” states.

In a state that operates under the “one bite rule,” the dog’s owner is only liable if they knew or reasonably should have known about the dog’s aggressive tendencies. If you’re bitten in a state operating under this rule, it can be harder to hold a dog owner responsible. Establishing fault requires strong proof, for example, a previous biting incident. States like New York and Texas follow this common law rule.

Conversely, in strict liability states, a dog owner can be held liable for a dog attack regardless of whether or not they knew their dog was dangerous. You don’t need to provide any extra proof of the dog’s mean history. Colorado and Florida are two states that operate under strict liability.

Determining Whether You Have a Dog Attack Claim

When you want to pursue compensation for your dog attack, you must figure out whether you have a valid claim. Whether you have a case depends on the circumstances and your state’s laws.

One-bite rule states are negligence states. In these states, you must provide proof of the dog’s owner’s negligence. On the other hand, in strict liability states, you likely have a case if you can show you suffered a dog bite. You do not need to prove the owner’s negligence or a history of dangerous behavior.

If you are unsure whether you have a viable case, do not wait to consult with a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. A lawyer can definitively determine whether you have a claim, and if so, begin working on your case right away.

Pursuing Compensation After Suffering Dog Bite Injuries

When you suffer injuries as a result of a dog attack, you may have the opportunity to pursue compensation. How you obtain financial recovery depends on the circumstances.

You can begin by filing a claim against the dog owner’s property insurance company. Dog bites are typically covered by homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies, given the dog’s owner lets the insurer know they have a pet.

Filing a claim might be all you need to get adequate compensation for your injuries. However, in some cases, it’s challenging to get the right financial recovery from insurance companies. How much the company offers you depends on certain factors, including policy limits and the insurer’s valuation of your claim.

If the insurance company approves your claim and offers fair compensation, you can accept it, settle your claim, and move on. However, if the insurer denies your claim or fails to make a fair settlement offer, your personal injury attorney may need to take additional steps to get you the monetary recovery you need.

Can I Sue After a Dog Attack?

Under certain circumstances, yes, you may have to file a lawsuit for your dog bite injuries and losses.

If the homeowner does not have insurance protection, you may need to pursue compensation from them directly via a lawsuit. Additionally, if the insurance company puts up a fight and doesn’t fairly settle your claim, you can also go one step further and file a lawsuit to continue your fight for justice.

Every case is unique. Your injury lawyer can give you personalized guidance and determine how best to seek compensation for your dog attack.

Determining How Much Time You Have to Sue Following a Dog Attack

There are strict time limits for taking legal action after suffering injuries in a dog attack or any type of accident or incident caused by another. Understanding how much time you have to avoid missing your opportunity to collect financially is important.

Dog attacks fall under personal injury law. Personal injury law protects injured victims and allows them to pursue justice and compensation for their harm and losses. To know how long you have to sue for a dog attack, you must review your state’s statute of limitations with your lawyer.

A local personal injury lawyer knows the state’s time limits and procedures. When you have an attorney on your case, you can feel confident knowing your claim will be filed on time.

Still, giving your attorney enough time to file your lawsuit is critical. Therefore, the sooner you consult a dog bite lawyer after your dog attack, the better for your case.

What Happens if You Miss Your Deadline

Typically, if you miss your deadline, you’re forfeiting your right to pursue justice and compensation for your dog attack. While you can still file your case in court, it is unlikely to succeed.

When you file a civil case, the opposing party always seeks ways to fight your claim. Therefore, they can bring this to the court’s attention upon noticing your statute of limitations has expired. The judge can then throw out your case, leaving you with no legal remedy.

This is one reason why taking action on your case as quickly as possible is vital. Don’t wait to meet with a lawyer and discuss your case. Your attorney can determine how much time you have and begin working right away.

Factors that May Affect How Long You Have to File Your Dog Bite Lawsuit

It’s worth noting that while the statute of limitations is strict, certain circumstances may pause the time clock or give you more time.

For example, if the dog owner leaves the state after the incident before you file your claim, time might stop ticking until the individual returns. Additionally, if you’re a minor during the attack (under 18), the statute may pause until you reach the age of majority and can file a lawsuit.

During your consultation, a personal injury attorney can determine whether anything impedes the legal time restriction and better explain your rights.

Potential Damages Available for Dog Bite Cases

Aside from getting justice, the primary purpose of filing a claim for a dog attack is to obtain favorable compensation. Your damages are related to your injuries and other losses, including, but not limited to:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost earnings
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Determining how much your dog attack claim is worth is challenging but necessary. Your personal injury attorney can carefully review the factors that heavily influence the value of your damages, including the types of injuries you sustain and how your injuries have affected your life.

Based on your lawyer’s evaluation, they can assign a dollar amount to your case and do everything necessary to get you adequate compensation.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Ensure Your Dog Attack Lawsuit is Filed Promptly

Dog Bite Lawyer, Keith Fuicelli

Keith Fuicelli, Dog Bite Attorney in Denver

As a victim of a dog attack, you have the right to take action against the at-fault party. Have a Denver personal injury lawyer handle your claim to ensure you don’t miss your chance of obtaining fair compensation.

An experienced attorney can take on your case and complete every critical case task promptly and efficiently. Hiring a lawyer can give you peace of mind throughout your dog attack lawsuit.