Most dog owners are responsible and safety-oriented, and most dogs do not pose a threat to others. Unfortunately, poorly trained dogs may attack not only humans but other animals as well. When this occurs, an injured person may be able to hold the dog’s owner accountable for negligence. If you were attacked by a dog or any other animal another person claims ownership or control over, a Metairie dog bite lawyer could help you pursue damages for certain everyday living expenses, lost wages, and medical bills. In certain cases, a dedicated personal injury attorney might be able to work with you to recover for intangible damages like pain and suffering and mental trauma as well.
The State of Louisiana employs what is known as strict liability in civil cases, but this principle is more commonly referred to as the “one-bite rule” in cases involving animal attacks. The rule is relatively simple on its face: if a dog has bitten a person before, their owner can be held legally liable if the dog bites someone again.
It is important to note the one-bite rule applies to all pets—not just dogs. Injured plaintiffs may hold farm animals, other common household pets such as cats, and exotic animals to the same standard.
However, if a dog—or other animal, as noted above—has never bitten someone before, it may be slightly harder to win a civil case against the owner. On top of that, the one-bite rule is slightly more complex than it sounds. In order to win a case based on this rule, a Metairie dog bite attorney must prove the owner of the allegedly dangerous dog:
In addition, the complainant must not have provoked the dog in any manner. If the court believes the plaintiff purposely provoked an otherwise peaceful dog, they may be unable to recover compensation. A skilled Metairie dog bite lawyer could advocate on an injured person’s behalf and work to hold a negligent owner responsible.
It can be easy to solely blame the owner of a dangerous dog after an attack. In reality, though, there may be more than one party to blame.
Property owners have a legal and moral obligation to ensure visitors to their properties are safe from dangerous dogs and other pets. The owners of private residences, apartment complexes, and places of business can be held liable if a person is attacked by a dog on their property.
Prior to allowing a person to reside on their property, landlords should take reasonable steps to ensure their tenants do not house dangerous dogs. If a tenant is allowed to have a pet, the landlord should ensure the pet does not pose a threat to other residents and/or their pets.
In the same vein, private homes should warn visitors of any potentially dangerous pets, typically by posting a sign or giving a verbal warning. A sign should always be posted in areas where children may attempt to trespass on a property.
Finally, if the pet’s owner—or the person who is responsible for controlling the animal at the time of the attack—is under the age of 18, their parents may be held liable as well. The law also allows complainants and dog bite lawyers in Metairie to hold negligent kennels and pet-sitters accountable in certain instances.
Dog attacks can be painful and traumatizing on a multitude of levels, and no one should be forced to shoulder the financial burden of an attack they are not responsible for. If you were attacked by a dangerous dog, you may be able to get the justice you seek in private litigation or, if necessary, civil court.
An experienced attorney may be able to provide you with the legal guidance and advice you need to file a successful suit against a negligent dog owner. Learn more about your legal options by contacting a Metairie dog bite lawyer today.
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