Dog Bites Can Be Fatal
There are thousands of dog bites each year. Some cause extremely severe injuries, even death. If you have been bitten by a dog and suffered an injury, you are not alone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20% of dog bite victims need medical attention. At Johnston Martineau, LLP., we know how unfair it is to be bitten and injured by a dog through no fault of your own. You deserve justice for your injuries, and we want to help you get it.
If you are in Iowa and have been hurt by a dog, a dog bite lawyer in Des Moines, IA can evaluate your case to help you determine whether you might be eligible to collect compensation for the injuries and suffering you have endured.
Dog Bite Liability
Laws governing liability in dog bite cases vary from state to state, and they often depend, in part, on the circumstances surrounding the attack. In most states, “strict liability” laws apply: The animal’s owner is held totally liable for all damages, regardless of whether they were aware of the dog’s propensity for violence.
In other states, an owner may be liable to a lesser degree if the animal had shown no previous inclination toward attack or if the dog acted playfully (did not intend to cause an injury). The law can also be complex regarding the victim’s role in the attack (for example, if the victim was on the owner’s property illegally or if the victim provoked the dog). Given the multifaceted and “case-by-case” nature of dog bite law, it is crucial to hire a talented attorney as soon as possible after your injury.
Iowa is a strict liability state, which means the full responsibility is on the dog owner to control their dog and prevent the animal from attacking and injuring others. Whether the dog had a history of aggression or violence is irrelevant. As long as you weren’t committing a crime that directly contributed to the dog attack (such as trespassing), you should be able to recover compensation for your resulting injuries from the dog owner or their homeowner’s insurance policy.
The exception to this is in the case of rabies. Dog attacks involving rabies are brought under the standard of negligence, rather than strict liability. If you were bitten by a rabid dog, Johnston Martineau, LLP can help you demonstrate that the owner was negligent in their handling of the dog. This usually requires you to prove that the owner was aware or should have been aware that their dog had rabies and failed to properly control it. If a dog owner has shown reasonable care to prevent the dog from biting, the owner cannot be held liable, even if the dog still attacks and causes injury. If you were bitten by a rabid dog, it is even more important that you hire a dog bite lawyer in Des Moines, IA., since this type of claim is more difficult.
Owner, Possessor, Keeper, Dog Sitter – All Liable
Liability for damages caused by a Pit bull, Doberman, Rottweiler, German Shepherd or other dogs is not limited to only the legal owner of the animal. Iowa law also states that a “keeper” or “possessor” of a domestic animal such as a dog may be held liable when the injuries resulting were the result of known vicious tendencies or propensities. Thus, while the legal owner would be strictly liable, an individual keeping the dog on their property could also be held liable for damages if it can be proven that they knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous or potentially dangerous based upon prior experiences.
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