Dog bites can be amongst the most complicated when it comes down to personal injury and this is due to many reasons. Accidents happen, but when an animal is involved it can be hard to determine who is at fault and how much the injured person will receive in compensation. There are plenty of factors that are analyzed to determine the injury and how much of a role that the dog bite actually played. All of these factors are crucial for results and final settlements. We discuss them and the legal defenses that can be used in a dog bite case.
Determining the Motive
In order for the defendant to settle at all, there must be a reasonable motive for doing so. This means the owner of the dog is aware that the chances that the dog will be held liable are very high, especially in a state where “strict liability” for dogs is enforced.
The Evidence of Suffering or Severe Damages
In order for the injured to receive any compensation, the damages must be clear and indicate the need for immediate medical assistance. It is best to show medical bills, if any, in order for a judge to make a decision. More than likely, both parties negotiate to come to an agreement in regards to making up for the damages.
The Location of the Suit
Where the lawsuit was filed is critical to consider because residents of the county where the accident occurred will create the jury pool. While this is not always the case, juries from a more residential area are less sensitive to dog bites, as they are around pets as opposed to those who may come from the city. Geography definitely plays a role in these cases.
How the Attorney of the Plaintiff Works
If the attorney representing the plaintiff is known for accepting low settlements, it is likely that the defendant will place a lower value on the case. This means compensation for damages might not be as much as it could. Sometimes, the plaintiff and defendant come to terms or negotiate in order to prevent the case from going to trial.
As for the defendant, there are many ways they could be pardoned or find a way from being held liable for the incident. It is important to understand legal defenses that could be used that way the plaintiff knows how to go about them if they want to have the defendant found guilty.
Was the dog provoked?
Dog owners are almost always released from a case if they can prove that the dog was provoked by the injured party. For example, if the plaintiff was mocking or somehow hit the dog, the defendant will not be found at fault or held liable. Provoking the animal can also include other scenarios.
Was the injured person aware of the possibility of damages?
While not as guaranteed, the defendant may be able to walk away if the injured party was aware of the risk that the animal imposed and decided to act upon the risk anyway. A clear example is if the plaintiff completely ignored a “beware of dog” sign, in which the defendant would be safe.
Did the injured person trespass?
If the injured person was attacked on another person’s property, the defendant would not be found guilty. If anything, the injured may be charged with trespassing. Oftentimes, the judge will let both go, making the plaintiff walk away with little to no compensation. The rules can vary on the state and on a legal basis.
Did the injured person break the law or was careless?
Lastly, the dog bite statute may not apply if the victim was committing a crime while they were attacked. Usually, when this happens, the victim won’t even consider taking the case to trial as it can turn around and put them in trouble instead.
Choose Us for The Legal Representation You Need
The Law Offices of Javier Martinez, Jr., P.C. understand just how important dog bite cases are, just as any other personal injury case. We aim to make sure you receive the treatment and attention you deserve throughout the process. Contact our law offices today to learn more about how we can represent you.