Dog Bite Lawyers in Dover, DE, Helping Injury Victims Get Justice After Animal Attacks
Dogs have long served as companions to human beings. From our ancestors training canines for hunting so long ago to the millions of Americans who own dogs today, there’s a bond that simply transcends time. Unfortunately, we often forget that even the cutest pups can cause significant injuries. If you’ve been hurt in such an attack, a dog bite lawyer in Dover, DE can help you better understand your rights and the best way to move forward.
At Schwartz & Schwartz, Attorneys at Law, our Delaware personal injury lawyers have spent years fighting to help injury victims get the compensation they deserve. Unfortunately, this means we frequently encounter individuals and their loved ones who were attacked by dogs. While there is no “silver lining” to such an attack, we are lucky enough to live in a state that takes such injuries seriously. Contact us for a free consultation today to learn more.
When Is a Dog Owner Liable for Bites Under Delaware Law?
Many states follow a “one-bite rule” when it comes to animal attacks. This means a dog owner can only be deemed negligent if they should’ve known their pet had violent tendencies — typically because they’ve bitten someone in the past. In some legal circles, this led to the snarky phrase, “The first bite is free.” Fortunately, this isn’t how things work in Delaware. If you were bitten here, a Delaware dog bite attorney can help hold an owner liable even for their pet’s first attack.
That’s because Delaware is a “strict liability” state when it comes to dog bites. This means that the attack alone is enough to establish liability. The injury victim doesn’t have to prove any form of negligence on the part of the owner. It’s not necessary to show that the owner should’ve known their animal was a danger, and even in cases where the victim may be partially at fault, the owner is still typically strictly liable.
There are only three exceptions to this rule:
- The victim was committing or attempting to commit a crime — including trespassing — on the property of the dog owner
- The bite victim was committing a crime or attempting to commit a crime against another individual (e.g., robbing someone)
- The bite victim was abusing, teasing, or tormenting the animal prior to the attack
If any of these factors exist, you may not be able to secure compensation. Of course, you shouldn’t take the owner’s or their insurance company’s word at face value. For instance, liable owners have claimed in the past that a person was trespassing on their property when the victim was actually a licensee and allowed to be there. These cases can be quite complex, so it’s important to understand your rights and options.
A dog bite lawyer in Dover, DE can assist in this process. Even if you think there’s a chance you may not be entitled to compensation, there’s no excuse to not find out for sure since we offer free consultations at Schwartz & Schwartz, Attorneys at Law. Contact us today.
Could Third Parties Be Liable for Dog Attack Injuries?
When someone is bitten by a dog, it’s typically the dog’s owner who they immediately blame. After all, the owner should’ve had control of their pet or known that it may be a danger to others in many cases. Of course, there are some instances when you may not know who owns the dog. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you can’t still seek compensation. It’s possible that third parties could share liability for your injury.
For instance, envision a situation where a child is attacked by a stray dog while at daycare. It’s difficult to imagine any situation where the animal should have been in close proximity to the child. Perhaps a daycare worker left the gate open in the play area, or maybe they negligently brought an unknown dog inside to keep them out of the rain. Regardless of the situation, the daycare may be held liable for the child’s injuries.
It’s not necessary for the dog’s owner to be unknown for third parties to face liability. It’s very possible that a Delaware court could decide that the pet’s owner and a third party are liable for a victim’s injuries. Due to these complexities of the law, speaking with a dog bite lawyer in Dover, DE may be in your best interest. You need an advocate on your side who can fight for you and help you understand your rights.
What Types of Damages Are Available in a Delaware Dog Bite Case?
If you’ve been attacked by a dog — even if you were injured without being bitten — you may be entitled to a variety of damage types. That’s because — regardless of the unique circumstances of your case — you essentially have a Delaware personal injury claim on your hands. This means you can recover economic, non-economic, and potentially even punitive damages. Understanding each of these can prove invaluable for your case:
- Economic damages: You can recover damages for the money your injury has cost you. This could include lost wages, medical bills, property repairs, and more.
- Non-economic damages: Not all injuries are economic in nature. It may be possible to receive damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and other harms.
- Punitive damages: Although rare, a court may also assign punitive damages in order to punish a dog owner. Such court awards are only typical if gross negligence or wanton behavior led to an injury.
A dog bite lawyer in Dover, DE can help you better understand which of these damages you may be entitled to. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a pet owner’s insurer will offer you fair compensation from the start. Individuals represented by attorneys receive higher compensation on average than those without representation, so don’t risk maximum compensation by trying to handle your injury on your own.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer in Dover, DE Today
In a perfect world, every dog would be non-aggressive and never harm an innocent individual. Unfortunately, this isn’t the world we live in. While we may have domesticated canines long ago, the fact remains that they’re unpredictable animals at heart. Many dogs will go their entire lives without harming another living soul, but for those that don’t, it’s important to hold accountable parties liable for their actions.
At Schwartz & Schwartz, our goal is to help our clients receive maximum compensation for their injuries. In the case of a dog attack, this means holding the owner responsible along with any other at-fault party. Our legal professionals will work diligently to investigate your case and identify every party that potentially holds liability. Contact us today by calling (302) 678-8700 to obtain a free case review. Our dog bite lawyers in Dover, DE can help you seek justice.