Know What You Are Owed After a Dog Bites Your Child
No matter how well you parent your child, it's impossible to prevent harm all the time. Children have to be protected from their innate need to explore and from their inability to make good decisions. Others owe your child a duty of care as well. When your child is attacked by a vicious dog, you are entitled to take action and be paid compensation. Read on to find out more about what you can expect.
Who Is Liable?
When harm occurs, the first question to be answered is who was responsible for preventing that harm. Store owners, property owners, and dog owners are all responsible for accidents and harm done. While everyone shares that responsibility, children are protected because of what are known as attractive nuisance provisions in civil law. A dog, just like open swimming pools and other temptations, is an attractive nuisance. Not only can children be drawn to animals but they are too small to escape and can sustain serious and life-threatening injuries in a relatively short amount of time. Whether the attack happens at a home, on the sidewalk, or in a park, dog owners are responsible for the behavior of their dogs at all times.
Who Can Sue?
While it's possible to come to a financial agreement with a dog owner and avoid court, you can always file suit and seek damages on behalf of a minor child that sustained injuries from a dog. Technically, the statute of limitations is suspended until the child reaches the age of 18 but the sooner you take action the easier it will be to gather evidence and prove your case.
What Are You Owed?
You can seek several forms of damages that affect not just your child but you too. Medical expenses can be high for injuries that involve severe wounds. Prompt treatment is vital not just to your personal injury dog bite case but to prevent infection and to preserve your child's appearance. If plastic surgery is needed, that should be paid for by the dog owner (or their homeowners' insurance, if appropriate). Beyond medical expenses, you might also be entitled to:
- Future medical expenses.
- Lost wages for yourself.
- Lost personal property.
- Mental health therapy for children traumatized by the dog attack.
After you've sought medical treatment for your child, gather evidence. Report the attack to the police and to animal enforcement agencies. Take photos of your child's wounds and of the dog and the general area where the attack occurred. Speak to a personal injury lawyer about your dog bite injury as soon as possible.