Dog bites are the most common kind of animal attack. More than four and a half million Americans are bitten by dogs each year; and in addition to any injuries, a dog bite or attack can result in fear, anxiety, and life-long trauma.
If you’ve been the victim of a dog attack, you probably have a lot of questions. At Gemma Law, our experienced dog bite injury lawyers can help protect your rights and ensure you understand your legal options.
Below, our skilled attorneys discuss dog-bite injuries in more detail and why victims should talk to a lawyer before settling a dog-bite claim.
Dog Bites Have Serious Consequences…
Nearly one in five people bitten by a dog will require medical treatment. Sadly, children represent the vast majority of people bitten.
Dog-bite injury claims cost insurance companies nearly $882 million in 2021, more than a third of all homeowners’ insurance claims. The average cost per claim was nearly $50,000.
Moreover, dog-bite injuries are not limited to those specifically caused by the dog’s teeth or claws; for example, a victim may trip or fall attempting to avoid an attacking dog, and subsequently, they may break an arm or ankle in the process.
In some cases, a dangerous infection may develop from bacteria introduced by the dog’s mouth, which can complicate treatment and prolong the need for medical intervention.
Dog bites have serious consequences, many of which go beyond the attack itself. If you’ve been injured by a dog or a negligent dog owner, contact an experienced injury lawyer for help.
Types of Damages Available in Rhode Island
Rhode Island laws don’t cap damages in personal injury cases. Victims can sue for economic losses, which include tangible costs such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as noneconomic losses, which include mental anguish or a reduced ability to work.
If you want to know how much your dog bite case is worth, it depends on the extent of injury or damage suffered by the victim.
Each dog-bite case must be assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the best outcome for the plaintiff. An attorney that tells you otherwise or promises a specific settlement amount should be carefully scrutinized.
Rhode Island Dog-Bite Laws
According to Rhode Island’s statute of limitations, victims have three years from the date of the dog bite or injury to file a lawsuit.
Rhode Island follows strict liability for dog bites or injuries, even if it’s the dog’s first attack. The strict liability doctrine states that the dog’s owner is responsible for any injury that occurs outside the dog’s enclosed area, regardless of the dog’s history of aggression or causing injury.
Unlike some states, the dog’s owner not knowing the dog was dangerous isn’t a defense in Rhode Island. Moreover, if there’s a second attack, the dog owner is liable for double damages and will be required to put the dog down.
Why You Might Need a Lawyer’s Help
Insurance companies aim to settle claims as quickly as possible. In many cases, they’ll offer a quick settlement that equals less than the victim’s total expenses.
At Gemma Law, we can help you understand the laws concerning your case and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. We’ll settle the claim, or take it to court if need be.
Working with an experienced dog bite attorney is in your best interest. Recovery can be challenging enough without having to worry about insurance negotiations. But with Gemma Law in your corner, you can focus on recovery while we handle the rest.
Expertise In Rhode Island
Our team has more than 100 years of combined legal experience. If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite or attack, contact our team for a FREE consultation. We’re here to answer your legal questions.
For more updates on current Rhode Island laws and how they affect you, like Gemma Law on Facebook or follow our law firm on Twitter.