Big or small, domesticated dogs are still wild animals at heart. They are capable of causing serious injury to any animal or person they think is threatening them or intruding on their territory. It is possible to hold a dog owner liable for injuries their dog caused through a bite or attack, but doing so is sometimes a complicated practice.
Louisiana state law approaches dog bite litigation in a complicated way, and you may have difficulty achieving a favorable case result without support from a Metairie dog bite lawyer. Even if you have experience with filing civil claims in the past, you could maximize your potential compensation when you work with a skilled personal injury attorney.
When Are Dog Owners Liable for Bite Injuries?
State law adheres to what is sometimes referred to as a “one-bite” rule. According to Louisiana Civil Code § 2321, dog owners are strictly liable for bite injuries which they could have prevented and that were not due to provoking the animal. Otherwise, they are only liable for injuries stemming from a lack of “reasonable care” in supervising their pet.
The best way to establish a dog owner should have known their dog was dangerous enough to be restrained is by proving their dog had bitten someone before—hence, the “one-bite” rule. If the dog responsible for a bite injury never injured anyone before, establishing fault for the bite injury means proving the dog’s owner did something that a reasonable owner would not have done, such as:
- Letting the dog out in public without a leash
- Not keeping the dog is fenced in on their own property
- Allowing the dog to get in the way of other people on public trails or sidewalks
- Failing to post a “beware of dog” sign
Guidance from a knowledgeable Metairie dog attack attorney could be crucial to proving that a dog owner should be liable for a bite injury.
How “Comparative Fault” Could Affect Civil Recovery
A comprehensive lawsuit or settlement demand over a dog attack should include both economic and non-economic forms of harm, including medical bills, lost work income, personal property damage, or physical and psychological suffering. However, LA Civ. Code § 2323 allows courts to reduce the plaintiff’s final damage award by whatever percentage of “comparative fault” they carry for their own injuries. Any amount of comparative fault assigned to the plaintiff for causing their own bite injury—for example, provoking the dog—could lead to them losing compensation.
Defendants in dog bite cases often try to work this element of Louisiana civil law to their advantage to minimize their own financial liability. This is why working closely with an experienced lawyer could be so important to achieving case success after a dog bite incident in Metairie.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney in Metairie for Help
Dog bites can tear through skin and muscle tissue, result in serious infections, or potentially even shatter bones. Any dog owner who negligently allows their pet to cause serious injuries should be held financially accountable for the effects of their misconduct.
Assistance is available from a tenacious Metairie dog bite lawyer with a track record of getting positive case results. Learn more by calling today and scheduling a free case consultation.