Injured by a Dog in Louisiana?
Lafayette Dog Bite Attorney Explains This Kind of Premises Liability Claim
According to premises liability law, owners are responsible for ensuring that their property is reasonably safe for others. This applies to property like land and buildings, but it also includes domestic animals. Pet owners must take steps to ensure that their animals do not bite or otherwise harm other people. Louisiana law also holds dog owners to a tighter standard than those who own other types of animals. As a result, victims of dog bites can generally recover compensation for their injuries and damages.
If you or a loved one has sustained serious personal injuries from someone else’s pet, then a Lafayette dog bite attorney from our law firm can assist you in filing your claim. A premises liability case often depends on specific details of the incident, which a pet owner may attempt to dispute. Having a lawyer on your side can help ensure you get a fair settlement and potentially prevent future attacks.
Who is Liable for Injuries Caused by Dog Bites?
Like most states, Louisiana law holds dog owners strictly liable for bites and other injuries, with certain provisions. Usually “strict liability” in dog bite cases indicates that the dog owner is responsible for injuries and damages caused by his or her pet regardless of negligence. This means that dog bite victims typically do not have to demonstrate that the owner knew of a possible danger and failed to prevent it. However, in Louisiana, an owner is strictly liable for dog bites only if:
- The owner could have prevented the injury.
- The dog bite victim did not provoke the attack. This requirement is not necessary for child injury cases. Children are not expected to understand risks or exercise the same level of care as an adult.
These laws apply to any injury caused by a dog, not just bites. For example, if a dog jumps up on you, causing you to slip and fall, the owner is probably liable for any injuries that result.
If you sustain personal injuries in a dog attack which the owner could have prevented, then you have one year from the time of the incident to file a claim. The owner’s home or renter’s insurance policy may cover dog bite injuries. However, as with any insurance claim, it may be difficult to get a fair settlement without an attorney representing your interests.
Additionally, if a dog causes serious personal injuries or wrongful death, the owner may face criminal charges. Penalties for these kinds of charges include a fine and up to six months in jail. While a criminal case does not provide compensation for victims and their families, your dog bite attorney may be able to use these charges as evidence in your civil lawsuit.
Do the Same Laws Apply to All Animal Attacks in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, strict liability applies only to cases involving dogs. In all other animal attack cases, a negligence rule applies. This means that, to recover compensation, victims and their attorneys must demonstrate:
- The owner knew or should have known that the animal was dangerous.
- The owner failed to exercise reasonable care to prevent an attack and/or injury.
- Personal injuries resulted from the owner’s negligence.
- The victim did not provoke the attack.
In many cases, the most difficult aspect of this kind of premises liability case is showing that the owner knew the animal was dangerous. Often, this means that the animal must have caused a previous injury. For example, you may sustain injuries if you are thrown from a horse. If that horse has a history of throwing people, then you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. However, if there are no prior complaints or incidents of injury, then you may not be able to collect compensation.
Hurt in an Animal Attack? Contact Our Lafayette Dog Bite Attorney Now
Premises liability cases for animal attacks are often complex, especially if the owner is a friend or family member. However, Louisiana law holds pet owners accountable for the injuries and damages their dogs and other animals cause. Therefore, if you sustained injuries from someone else’s pet, contact our Lafayette dog bite attorney today. Our attorneys can advise you of your rights and represent your insurance claim and/or personal injury lawsuit to ensure you get the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Our Louisiana personal injury law firm serves clients throughout the state, including residents of Lake Charles, Sulphur and Calcasieu Parish. Call our Lafayette law office or contact us online today to schedule your free initial consultation.