Warwick Dog Bite Attorney
Dogs have long been considered man’s best friend. But all dogs, under the right circumstances, can bite. In July of 2018, a Warwick woman’s well-loved pet Jack Russell-pointer mix unexpectedly ripped her owner's lip off when she got too close to the dogs face while playing, requiring a team of plastic surgeons to reattach it. As dog bite lawyers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, at Tapalian Law we often see similar scenarios to this Warwick dog bite injury where a commonly playful pet unexpectedly turns on its owner.
According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 36% of households in the United States own dogs. As of the latest study, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year; approximately 1 out of every 69 people. Although you’re twice as likely to die of a bee sting than a dog bite, many dog bites require medical attention. Even if the wound is minor, it can lead to serious complications from infection or leave the victim with psychological trauma that can last long after the incident. An experienced dog bite attorney can help you understand the Rhode Island dog bite laws, and determine how you can be compensated for all costs related to the incident.Why do Dogs Bite?
Dogs may bite for a variety of reasons, but most dog related injuries are motivated by fear; they feel threatened or ill; maybe they’re defending their food, territory or young. Contrary to popular belief, no particular breed of dog is more likely to bite you. In fact, Chihuahuas are just as likely to bite as pit bulls. However, dog bites occurring by certain breeds are seemingly more publicized, such as pit bulls and rottweilers, as these breeds attacks tend to cause more significant injury than the bite of a smaller breed.How can You Avoid a Dog Bite?
Owners can minimize the odds of their dog being involved in biting or assault by socializing them and being a responsible pet owner. However, there are things that you can do to minimize your chances of being bit by a dog. If the dog is acting fearful or aggressive, don’t provoke it. It’s best to avoid sudden movements or loud high-pitched sounds. The American Veterinary Medical Association says, among other things, that you should, “Move away slowly, confidently, and calmly, and break eye contact with the dog.”
In the case of the dog owner in Warwick, she admitted that, “It got to a point where she was showing me warning signs and then showed me her teeth and I went in to play with her a little more.” It’s important to pay attention to the body language of the dog. Dogs rarely, if ever, attack for no reason with no notice unless they have a history of aggression.What to do if You are Bitten by a Dog
If you are attacked by a dog, try to put something between you and the dog. If it knocks you down, curl into a ball. Tuck your head in, and put your hands over your ears and neck. If you are bitten, always wash the wound with soap and water, and apply an antibiotic cream. If the wound will not stop bleeding, apply pressure and call 9-1-1. Dogs have numerous bacteria in their mouths, and these can cause serious illness even from a bite that might seem minor. In addition to rabies and tetanus, other rarer infections are possible. In 2013, a woman who was nipped on the hand while playing with her dog developed an infection that ultimately resulted in multiple amputations. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you are bitten.
You should always get the dog owners name and address. It’s important to make sure the dog has had its rabies vaccination, which is required by law. Once you have secured your own safety, contact a skilled Warwick dog bite lawyer at Tapalian Law. There are things you can do to preserve your personal injury claim and ensure that your dog bite lawyer can help you get maximum compensation for your injuries. The more documentation and evidence you preserve, the better your chances of having a successful dog bite lawsuit. It is critical to document the circumstances surrounding the incident.
If you see a doctor, Rhode Island law requires the medical provider to report the dog bite. If you do not see a doctor, you are still required to report the dog bite to Warwick Animal Control for public safety.Can I be Compensated for a Dog Bite in Rhode Island?
At Tapalian Law, we are dog bite attorneys with expertise in helping our Rhode Island and Massachusetts clients recover costs related to dog assaults including medical bills, lost wages, scarring, and emotional trauma. Injuries are not limited to the dog bite itself; there can be any number of wounds such as lacerations, fractures or broken bones. Other health problems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may take time to manifest, and have a much longer lasting effect, especially on young children. You may also be entitled to compensation for future treatment and surgeries related to the attack.
Under the City of Warwick Code of Ordinances, owners are required to have their dogs leashed at all times when they are not in a fenced enclosure on the owner’s property. If someone else is caring for the dog, they must ensure that the person is able to physically maintain effective control of the animal. If the incident occurs outside of the owner’s property, the owner and/or the keeper of the dog is automatically liable. If the dog has a history with the town, you are entitled to double damages. When possible, take pictures or video to prove where the incident occurred.
If the assault occurs on the owner’s property, the statute only applies if the owner knew the dog was accustomed to this kind of behavior, commonly called the “one-bite rule.” The owner is not liable if the injured person (or animal) was, “committing a trespass or other tort upon premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, provoking, abusing, or assaulting the dog or was attempting to commit a crime.”
It is not necessary to wait for a dog to bite someone to report it to the authorities. Under Warwick law, unrestricted and aggressive dogs are prohibited. If evidence is submitted about the conduct of a dog that, “is being aggressive without provocation by its actions such as biting or attacking a human or any animal or in an aggressive or terrorizing manner approaches a person or animal in an apparent display of attack” then the town can take action. At the very least, there will be a paper trail that will prevent the owner from escaping liability to any future victims.Call Attorney David Tapalian for a Free Consultation of Your Dog Bite Claim
An assault by a dog can cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, as well as emotional pain, stress, and anxiety, which is very difficult to put a price on. Choosing the right dog bite attorney is one of the most important decisions you can make when attempting to recover your losses. According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Homeowners insurers paid out $675 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2018. The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 103 percent from 2003 to 2018, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are trending upwards.” At Tapalian Law, we have years of expertise getting compensation for our clients in dog bite lawsuits and can help you through the difficult process of documenting your injury and preserving evidence. Rather than making a mistake that could hurt your chance at recovering compensation, let us put our experience to work for you. If you have been injured and cannot come to us, we will visit you at your home or in the hospital to give you a free consultation. Our Warwick personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you win your case. Personal injury claims have a statute of limitations in RI and MA, so don’t delay contacting an experienced attorney if you’ve been attacked by a dog. Call Tapalian Law today at 401-552-5000, or contact us with our easy, online form.