Accident or Animal Attack? You May Have a Lawsuit

| Mar 2, 2016 | Firm News, Information |

You know how to behave around both wild and domesticated animals. Wild animals require a lot of space and minimal interaction. Domesticated animals usually feel more than happy to sit in close proximity to humans.

However, you recently crossed paths with a dog or cat, and that animal decided to attack you. You have had to miss time at work and pay for medical attention during your recovery, and you have lost significant funds as a result.

You do not deserve to suffer the consequences of another creature’s actions-but you cannot sue a dog or cat like you would sue another person who had wronged you. So what can you do to ensure you receive the restitution you deserve?

Simply follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Determine if You Can Sue for Owner Liability

You cannot sue for compensation if the animal does not belong to anyone. At that point, the animal is classified as feral, and the same principles apply as if you had come across a wild animal. You can only sue if the animal is someone’s pet, and then you can sue the owner for damages their dog or cat caused.

However, you do not have a legitimate animal attack case if your situation does not meet the following criteria:

  • Your injuries must have come from the animal that attacked you or have happened during your escape from the animal. You will have to prove your injuries’ source, so make sure your doctor documents all the relevant details.
  • You did not provoke the animal to attack you in any way. You did not tease it, invade its space, or otherwise incite it against you. You simply passed by and minded your own business.
  • You had a right to be where you were. For example, you did not break into a person’s house to steal their belongings, or you were not on private property when you shouldn’t have been. Instead, you walked in a public area, lounged on your own property, visited a friend’s house, or otherwise stayed in areas you had a right to be.
  • The person you want to sue must own the animal that attacked you. If he or she merely handled the animal at the time, your case becomes more complicated. Consult your lawyer for more details.

Some other considerations may make your case more complicated, but they do not necessarily deny you compensation. For example, if the pet owner takes steps to limit the animal’s movements and warn passersby of its presence, the courts may side with the owner. However, if the limits on the animal do not restrict it from moving into public spaces, then you still have a case.

Additionally, if the owner in question knows that his or her pet has a history of violence and still does not control the animal, you may have the right to increased compensation. Talk to your lawyer to learn more about your options. He or she can assess the evidence and past lawsuits to help you take the next step.

  1. Collect Proof and Build a Case

If you have not hired a lawyer at this point, you should do so now. You can represent yourself in court, but you will experience much less stress and achieve a much better outcome if you work with a legal expert. Lawyers have worked with the complexities of animal attack laws before, and they’ve also built cases before. Rely on their experience so you can get through this process quickly and easily.

Because lawyers have previously worked on animal attack cases, they’ll direct you on what evidence to get from your doctor. They may also ask you to take pictures of the injury and of the site where you got it. Your lawyer may also take these photos himself or herself. You may also need statements from any witnesses and first responders, if applicable.

Once you have all this information, your legal advisor will help you make your case.

  1. Find Out How Much Compensation You Can Sue For

When you receive restitution for an animal attack, the pet’s owner pays for more than just your injury. Your compensation could also cover:

  • Any other hospital or specialist visits in addition to the original emergency room visit
  • Medications
  • Therapy, both physical and emotional
  • Damage done to any property, such as clothing
  • Lost wages from lost work
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and psychological

With most of the points on this list, you have a concrete amount of financial compensation that you can ask for. However, with more general terms like pain and suffering, you will have to ask your lawyer. He or she will help you research a just amount.

When someone else’s pet attacks you, you deserve financial recompense for what happened. Contact your legal representative and use the steps above to start the process.