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Dog bite victims can suffer debilitating physical injuries as well as emotional harm, often caused by scarring and disfigurement. Negligent dog owners, and in some cases, landlords and businesses, may be held legally responsible for failing to meet their duty of care to control their animals and avoid causing foreseeable harm. Dog bite victims and their families can file a personal injury lawsuit to secure compensation for their suffering. At Gelb & Gelb, our office represents clients as they set forth claims for damages following a dog bite attack. Future medical needs and recovery for mental suffering are a large part of a damages award in these potentially complicated cases, and dedicated Washington, D.C. dog bite lawyer Roger Gelb assists individuals and their families by advocating for maximum compensation. As a seasoned litigator, Attorney Gelb has earned a reputation for efficient and effective legal advocacy, and has recovered more than $100,000,000 for victims of accidents and wrongful death throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. During the course of legal representation, Attorney Gelb maintains ongoing client communication, as he personally handles every claim.Common Injuries Suffered by Dog Bite Victims
Each dog bite attack is unique, and depending on the breed of the dog as well as the age and physicality of the victim, the severity of harm varies. Puncture wounds are common injuries from dog bites, and can lead to infection, which can be life-threatening. Nerve damage may result from a puncture wound, and other medical conditions such as blood poisoning and tetanus can occur. Additionally, the jaw muscles of a dog may cause broken bones, which can lead to lost work time and increased medical bills.
Facial injuries are among the more traumatic dog bite injuries. Unfortunately, these are also the most common. Often people place their face near a dog, and when it attacks, the victim’s face is closest to the dog’s mouth. Facial injuries tend to cause emotional suffering because after stitches or surgery, the victim may be left with permanent scars. It can take time for these to surface, and for the full extent of harm to be clear.
While the physical effects of a dog bite can be obvious, the emotional consequences may linger for years. Victims can endure anxiety and depression. Post traumatic stress disorder may result, bring with it dire memories about the dog attack. Victims may fear dogs, and even avoid going outside.Filing a Legal Claim for Damages to Secure Compensation
To secure compensation following a dog bite, the victim typically demonstrates negligence on the part of the dog owner, and a knowledgeable injury attorney can help. In some cases, negligence may be attributed to the business or landlord. For all negligence claims, there must be breached duty of care that directly led to harm.
Generally, all dog owners owe a duty to maintain control of their animal and prevent the animal from injuring others in a foreseeable way. Breaching a duty of care in the context of a dog bite may take different forms. A dog owner may leave their dog unattended outside a store, only to discover that their dog lunged and bit a child walking nearby. In this case, the dog owner likely owed a duty to prevent this potentially reasonably foreseeable harm. If the dog was known to bite, or was off leash at the time, these facts may offer even more support for the victim’s negligence claim. In some situations, a dog owner that violates a statute may be deemed negligent as a matter of law. For example, a pet owner in violation of a leash law may be deemed negligent per se if their dog runs loose and bites someone.
Causation is important in a dog bite claim, and in some situations, the dog need not bite or touch the injured individual. When someone runs from a dog to avoid being bitten and is then hit by a car, the owner may be found negligent, depending on the facts.
After establishing that a breached duty of care led to their injuries, the victim must assert their economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages refer to quantifiable harm, including lost wages from work due to injuries. Non-economic damages are equally important, although harder to quantify. For example, mental suffering may take the form of a diminished quality of life.Retain a Dog Bite Lawyer for Victims Throughout Washington, D.C.
The complexities of a dog bite lawsuit vary between states, and require a seasoned personal injury attorney capable of analyzing the facts and acknowledging potential challenges to a successful claim for compensation. Roger Gelb and the team at Gelb & Gelb are familiar with the claims you may be able to raise related to the most common injuries associated with dog bites. We appreciate the importance of seeking damages for all suffering that accompanies an accident, including the emotional aftermath that leaves victims enduring depression or a reduced quality of life. Throughout the course of representation, Mr. Gelb communicates directly with clients, answering questions and relaying pertinent information surrounding their case. We are proud to help injured individuals and their families throughout VA, MD, and Washington, D.C.. To begin the process of better understanding your rights, call our office at (202) 331-7227 or fill out our online form.