Animal attacks and dog bites can result in major injuries. Some victims may require costly medical treatment.
In Idaho, dog bite victims can seek financial compensation for injuries, property damage, and more from the dog owner. The attorneys at The Advocates Law Firm have the expertise and knowledge to help you get fair compensation for your losses.
Insurance companies work hard to pay as little as they can, regardless of the seriousness of an injury. Insurance adjusters rarely approve an adequate settlement at the onset of a claim. They will attempt to delay payment, argue claims, or even offer a quick but minimal payment in an attempt to pay a reduced settlement amount.
At The Advocates, our dog bite lawyers will send demand letters to the defendant and their insurer. These letters typically include the incident details, any injuries, property loss, any other damages the victim experienced, and the compensation claim.
These letters may also mention the financial, mental, and physical damages resulting from the incident. The economic impact of the attack includes the cost of medical care, any lost wages, damage to property, etc. Non-economic damages include mental or non-physical effects, including “pain and suffering.” This type of loss is difficult to calculate without an experienced animal attack lawyer. The Advocates’ dog bite and animal attack attorneys review all the facts and evidence to evaluate the necessary settlement amount for all your losses.
Every animal attack claim begins with proving the victim’s innocence and demonstrating that the injuries are the result of the at-fault party’s negligence. This is one of the most important jobs of a dog-bite lawyer because establishing carelessness or negligence is the foundation for any claim.
To ensure that an animal attack victim can win a claim, their attorney must prove the at-fault party was accountable for caring for the animal and that their negligence resulted in the victim’s injuries. This means the owner of a dog or any other animal is responsible for controlling and preventing the animal from acting aggressively.
The amount of a settlement will vary for each animal attack claim. Below are some of the more typical damages a victim may experience because of a dog bite or animal attack:
If an animal attack victim experiences temporary or long-term trauma, anxiety, and strain because of a dog bite or other animal attack, they are likely entitled to financial compensation for their pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are classified as non-physical damages, so establishing a dollar amount varies based on the seriousness of the attack.
The financial impact of medical expenses for treating a dog bite injury can be significant. These medical expenses include both physical and psychological treatments necessary for your recovery. These costs are a part of your settlement.
When an animal’s aggressive behavior results in property damage, like broken jewelry, a damaged watch, or ruined clothing, the owner is responsible for those losses.
The wages you lose because you cannot work due to a dog bite or animal attack should include your claim. These wages include your inability to work for any amount of time due to the injury. This includes the financial impact of being unable to work in your current position and long-term disability.
Since Idaho does not have a Dog Bite Statute or the “one free bite” law, there is no need to prove that a dog has attacked someone before. All your and your lawyer’s energy can be focused on establishing liability for your injuries.
According to Idaho law, any complaint about a vicious dog made to the authorities means the dog owner will receive a notice about their animal. A vicious dog is one that aggressively bites, attacks, or injures someone, even if the dog is not provoked.
A dog owner of a vicious dog must keep the animal secure in an enclosed area. If the dog is not kept in an enclosure, it needs to be secured with a chain. The dog must not be able to leave the enclosure without help from the owner.
The time required to settle a dog or animal attack claim will depend on how complicated the case is. If negligence is apparent, the settlement process might last between 4-12 months.
But if a dog bite or animal attack claim is a complicated case that goes to court, it may take several years to settle. After filing a claim, the discovery or investigation phase can take 6 to 12 months. However, it is uncommon for personal injury cases (including dog bites) to go to trial.
Regardless of which side of the case you’re on – the injured victim or the dog owner – the law provides some defenses that can minimize the liability of the at-fault party.
When a dog is the property of the military, police, or another governing body, dog bite law states victims of an attack cannot sue if the incident happens when the dog is on duty.
If a person is injured while trespassing on property owned by the owner of the dog, the owner may not be responsible. However, if an injury occurs because of the dog owner’s carelessness, the dog bite statute might still apply even if the victim is trespassing. These cases are difficult to prove due to the victim’s trespassing.
Suppose a dog bite victim knowingly participates in activities that make injury or harm from a dog bite likely. In that case, they might not be eligible to file a claim against the animal’s owner. This is because there is an “assumption of risk” by the victim.
The most common example is in the case of veterinarians. They cannot report a dog bite claim because they knowingly place themselves in an environment where dogs and other animals might cause injury. Since dog bites are common in this profession, it is their responsibility to know how to avoid such incidents.
If a person hits a dog, stomps on its tail, etc., the dog is provoked. These careless behaviors may be deemed negligent in nature but on the victim’s part. Should a victim purposefully or unintentionally provoke or trigger an animal, they might not be able to hold the owner liable for their injuries and losses.
A dog owner can still be held responsible when a claim involves individuals under five years old. Children this young likely do not know any better, so it is the animal owner’s job to keep their dog away from children.
The dog bite statute applies in cases involving injuries caused by more than just dog bites. When a dog scratches a person or knocks them down when behaving aggressively, the person may still suffer injuries. It is still the dog owner’s obligation to control their dog.
If an animal injures you, a family member, or a friend, the first thing you should do is clean the wound(s) with soap and water. Try to use sterile bandages to protect the injury. When deeper wounds occur or you experience active bleeding, apply pressure to the affected area.
Any time you experience an animal attack, you should seek medical attention. Even minor wounds can quickly become infected. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need stitches, special dressings, or medication. Your physician may also recommend certain shots to protect your health. Having medical documentation of your injuries is also helpful when you file your claim.
Call the police or a non-emergency dispatch line and report the animal attack or dog bite incident. An officer will file a report and evaluate whether animal control is required.
Always get the dog owner’s personal information, such as their full name, telephone number, home address, and homeowner or renter insurance. Also, ask the owner for the dog’s rabies vaccine license number and their veterinarian’s name and number. Talk to witnesses of the incident and get their names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
It is also a good idea to photograph your injuries, damaged items or clothing, and anything else that might be evidence.
Make sure to get in touch with The Advocates. Our qualified team of dog bite attorneys is well-versed in Idaho statutes relating to dog bites and animal attacks. Our experienced attorneys will help gather the facts and evidence necessary to support your claim. And remember, we don’t charge you anything until we win your case.
Contact an Advocate today.