When a dog attacks a person, the resulting injuries can be severe. Puncture wounds, infections, scarring, and anxiety are common and can result in long-term physical, emotional, and financial damages. These injuries often require serious medical attention and may never fully heal.
If a dog attacked you or your loved one, you may have a claim against the owner. A Lincoln dog bite lawyer will help you understand your rights. Call for a risk-free initial consultation; an experienced personal injury attorney can counsel you and help you gather the evidence needed to pursue your claim.
An unleashed, large black dog is lying on the front lawn of a Lincoln, NE, home.
Understanding Nebraska’s Dog Bite Laws, Including Strict Liability
Nebraska’s dog bite law, as established by Nebraska Revised Statute § 54-601, holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries inflicted by their dogs. This means that a person injured by that dog does not necessarily have to prove negligence against the owner. The principle of strict liability applies except in cases where you or your loved one provoked the dog or were trespassing on the owner’s property when the incident occurred.
If neither provocation nor trespassing can be proven by the dog’s owner, the owner can be held responsible for any physical or emotional damages you suffered.
Trespassing and the “One Free Bite” Rule
The situation becomes slightly more complex if you were on the dog owner’s property without permission when the bite occurred.
You must then provide evidence that the dog’s owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious tendencies. In this context, the so-called “one free bite” rule applies, meaning the dog owner could potentially avoid liability if the dog had no prior record of causing harm.
Provocation as a Bar to Recovery
If there’s evidence that you or your loved one intentionally provoked the dog, you could be barred from obtaining compensation for damages. In such a scenario, the burden is on the dog owner to demonstrate that your actions directly incited the dog attack.
Landlord Liability in Animal Attack Cases
In some circumstances, landlords might be responsible for a dog attack by their tenant’s dog. This typically applies when the landlord has prior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous tendencies or violent behavior.
In this situation, the landlord might be partially or wholly liable for damages from a dog attack.
The Responsibilities of Lincoln Dog Owners
Every dog owner in Lincoln is mandated by law to have their pets under control at all times. This implies ensuring the dog is leashed in public spaces and appropriately confined within personal property lines at home.
Overlooking these standards exposes others to potential harm and places you as a dog owner at risk of serious legal repercussions.
Keeping Dogs Vaccinated and Disease-Free
It’s also a legal requirement for dog owners to ensure that their pets are timely vaccinated and free from contagious diseases.
Protecting the health of the public and other animals falls directly under the purview of responsible pet ownership.
The Aftermath of a Dog Bite Incident
If you’re a dog owner and your dog bites or attacks someone, you must accept the consequences of their actions. This includes helping with medical costs and cooperating in subsequent legal proceedings. Your dog will also likely be quarantined for up to two weeks to ensure it does not have any communicable diseases.
While some homeowners’ insurance policies might cover damages caused by pets, it’s always best to consult an experienced Lincoln dog bite attorney for accurate information.
Navigating the Complexities of a Dog Bite Incident
The process following a dog bite incident can be challenging, but understanding the responsibilities of all involved parties can facilitate a smoother resolution. As an injured person, it is important to recognize that you have rights and, if necessary, seek professional legal advice.
On the flip side, pet owners must take preventative measures and demonstrate responsible behavior to prevent harm or injury to others. It’s not just about obeying the law; it’s also about safeguarding the community and fostering a safe environment for everyone.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Counsel
Engaging the services of a personal injury lawyer can significantly improve your chances of getting compensable damages if you’ve been injured by a dog.
Conversely, if you’re a dog owner faced with a lawsuit following a dog bite incident, competent legal representation can provide the advice and guidance you need during the proceedings. The bottom line is whether you’re a dog owner or have been bitten by a dog, understanding your responsibilities and rights is key.
What Are the Consequences of a Dog Bite?
Dog-related injuries can have significant consequences, impacting your physical and mental health and financial stability, and can present legal implications for the dog owner. The severity of these effects can vary based on the circumstances, including the bite’s severity, the dog’s health condition, and local legal regulations.
Physical Health Impact of a Dog Bite
A dog bite can have serious physical health consequences, particularly if the animal is not properly vaccinated. In addition, wounds from a bite can lead to infections, and diseases like rabies can be transmitted in rare cases. Dog bite wounds often take a substantial amount of time to heal, and may also result in damage to nerves and tendons below the skin.
It is important to stay in regular contact with a doctor until your wounds have completely healed. Dog bites often result in permanent and sometimes significant scarring also, which may require additional treatment.
The psychological impact of a dog bite should not be underestimated.
Victims, especially children, can have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and fears or phobias related to dogs. If you or a loved one are dealing with these symptoms, it is important to seek professional treatment for this aspect of the injuries.
A dog bite can have financial consequences, including substantial medical bills for emergency care, follow-up treatments, physical therapy, or psychological counseling.
Additionally, if the bite results in temporary or permanent disability, you may lose wages due to time off work or diminished earning capacity.
As discussed, the owner may be legally responsible for your injuries and related costs. In Nebraska, dog owners can be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs.
Ultimately, the consequences of a dog bite can be significant and far-reaching, affecting both the victim and the dog owner. If a dog has bitten you, or if your dog has bitten someone, it’s important to consult with a skilled Lincoln dog bite attorney who can guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.
Berry Law’s Team Provides You With Multiple Attorney Perspectives
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury in Lincoln?
According to the state’s strict liability laws, pet owners are typically held accountable regardless of their knowledge of the dog’s behavior. Therefore, to win a dog bite claim, it’s important to identify the at-fault party. Most of the time, this will be the owner of the dog.
Here are three things you should know about liability for dog bite injuries in Lincoln:
- The owner is typically liable: In most cases, the dog owner is responsible for covering damages resulting from the bite or attack.
- Negligence may be a factor: Sometimes the negligence of the dog’s owner or of a landlord for the dog’s owner may be important to establish. This negligence typically involves knowing of a dog’s vicious propensities and failing to take reasonable precautions to protect other people from that dog.
- Seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer: If you or someone you know was injured by a dog in Lincoln, it’s important to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help navigate your case and determine who is liable.
Understanding the liability for dog bite injuries in Lincoln can be complicated and very dependent on the facts of each case. Still, with proper legal guidance and representation, victims can receive compensation for their damages and hold owners accountable for their dogs’ actions.
Compensation for Plaintiffs Following a Dog Bite
If you’re a bite victim, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Compensation can vary depending on the severity of the injuries sustained during the attack.
It’s important to contact a Lincoln dog bite lawyer as soon as possible after an attack to assess your legal options.
A personal injury attorney specializing in dog bites can help guide you through the legal process and ensure you receive fair compensation for expenses and injuries. They will evaluate all aspects of your case, including evidence of negligence on behalf of the owner, previous history of attacks involving the same animal or owner, and any other factors that could impact your claim.
How Are Dog Bite Damages Calculated?
The extent of any catastrophic injuries and other related expenses incurred usually determines dog bite damages. You may be entitled to compensation for damages through a personal injury claim, so seeking legal advice from a reputable Lincoln dog bite lawyer is essential. Calculating damages involves assessing economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses typically include financial expenses necessitated by the injury. Non-economic losses refer to the pain, suffering, and other damages you experience because of an injury but which are not as easy to put a dollar amount on.
Here’s an overview:
- Medical expenses: This is often the most significant part of the calculation. It includes immediate medical care costs like doctors’ visits, insurance co-pays and deductibles, emergency room visits, surgeries, medication, and other treatments, and it also includes future medical expenses, such as ongoing medical treatment or therapy related to the injury.
- Lost income: If you missed work due to your bite injury, you could be compensated for the income you lost. If the injury results in a long-term or permanent inability to work, future lost income might also be considered.
- Pain and suffering: This is often more subjective and harder to quantify than other damages and includes physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury. The victim’s testimony and that of family, friends, and mental health professionals can be valuable in establishing these damages.
- Property damage: If any personal property was damaged in the incident, such as clothing or glasses, the victim could be reimbursed for the value of these items.
- Loss of consortium: In certain cases, a spouse may also file for loss of consortium. This refers to the loss of companionship, love, and affection following the incident.
- Costs of rehabilitation and therapy: A victim might require physical or occupational therapy after a dog bite to regain function or adapt to new physical limitations. Psychological therapy might also be necessary, especially in cases where the victim suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or similar psychological effects.
- Permanent disfigurement or disability: If the dog bite results in permanent scarring, disfigurement, or a disability, compensation may be higher. This can significantly impact the victim’s life, including their ability to work and overall quality of life.
The sum of these factors and others becomes the total demand for settlement or the amount sought at trial. It’s important to note that every case is different, and the damages calculated will be specific to each individual’s circumstances.
Consulting with a personal injury lawyer experienced in dog bite cases can provide a more accurate estimate of potential damages.
What Are the Requirements to File a Dog Bite Claim?
Several conditions typically need to be met to successfully file a dog bite claim in Lincoln, NE.
Those requirements are outlined in the following table:
|Ownership Verification||Establishing the dog’s ownership is a fundamental step. You need to confirm that the person you’re filing the lawsuit against is indeed the dog’s legal owner.||This requirement determines the person to be held responsible for the dog’s actions.|
|Injury Documentation||Your medical records should clearly detail that your injuries were the result of a dog bite. This encompasses immediate medical attention following the incident and all related follow-up visits or treatments.||Detailed medical records support your claim by providing evidence of the extent and cause of your injuries.|
|Establishing Liability||Under Nebraska law, dog owners are typically held strictly liable for injuries their dogs cause, except in cases where the victim was trespassing or provoking the dog.||Determining liability is vital for your case as it establishes that another party is responsible for compensating your damages.|
|Proving Negligence||If an owner knew of the dog’s dangerous propensities and didn’t take necessary steps to prevent the dog from causing harm, this can be seen as negligence.||Proving negligence can strengthen your case and hold the dog owner accountable for their failure to prevent the incident.|
|Statute of Limitations||A dog bite claim in Nebraska must be filed within four years from the date of the injury. Failing to file a lawsuit within this timeframe may bar you from seeking compensation for your injuries.||Adhering to this requirement is critical to preserving your legal rights to compensation.|
How does the Statute of Limitations Work for Lincoln Dog Bite Claims?
The “statute of limitations” refers to the legal timeframe for a person to file a lawsuit. In Nebraska, including Lincoln, the statute of limitations for dog bite claims is generally four years from the date of the incident.
If a dog has bitten you, you may have up to four years to initiate a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you do not file your lawsuit within this four-year window, your claim will likely be dismissed, and you will lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
The time limit begins to run from the date the injury occurred. However, there may be exceptions to this rule depending on the specific circumstances of your case. For example, if a child is bitten, the statute of limitations may be extended until they reach a certain age. Conversely, if you were injured by a dog belonging to a governmental entity, you may have as little as one year to bring your claim.
Many exceptions to the statute of limitations like these exist, so it is important to consult with a Lincoln personal injury attorney after a dog bite incident as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss the deadline for filing your claim. Your attorney can help ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and on time and that you understand the process and requirements for pursuing a dog bite claim in Lincoln.
How Long does It Take to Resolve a Dog Bite Claim?
Waiting to receive compensation for a dog bite you’ve suffered can be a frustrating and stressful experience. But it’s important to understand that the length of time it takes to resolve a claim can vary greatly depending on various factors, including:
- The complexity of the case: More complicated cases tend to take longer to resolve. This can depend on the severity of the injury, whether it’s clear who is at fault, and how many parties are involved.
- Medical treatment and recovery: The extent of your injuries and how long it takes to recover or reach ‘maximum medical improvement‘ can influence the duration. It’s generally best to wait until this point before settling a claim so that all medical costs can be accurately calculated and the extent of any permanent injuries is fully understood.
- Insurance company negotiations: How quickly the insurance company responds and their willingness to negotiate can impact how long the process takes. If the insurance company disputes the claim or offers a low settlement, it may be necessary to go to trial, which extends the timeline.
- Liability Disputes: If liability is contested or multiple parties are involved or conflicting accounts of what happened, this can delay proceedings. During this time, lawyers will conduct investigations and evidence-gathering processes to establish the liability.
- Court schedules: If a lawsuit needs to be filed, court schedules and proceedings can affect the timeline. The process can be lengthy due to pre-trial discovery, motions, and waiting for a trial date.
Some cases may take weeks or months to settle, while others can drag out much longer. Hiring an experienced Lincoln dog bite lawyer can help speed up the process by navigating legal complexities and advocating on your behalf.
Consulting with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can also help you understand what to expect in your case. Remember, the primary goal should be to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, even if it takes longer.
What Should I Bring to My Initial Consultation with a Lincoln Dog Bite Lawyer?
Preparing for your initial consultation with a Lincoln dog bite lawyer can expedite the process and provide your attorney with the necessary information to evaluate your case effectively. Here’s what you should consider bringing:
- Medical records: Documents showing the diagnosis and treatment of your injuries, the cost of your medical care, and any future medical needs can be critical to your claim.
- Photos: If possible, bring photographs of your injuries, the location of the incident, and any damages. This also includes photos of the dog that caused the injury.
- Incident reports: If there was a police or animal control report made, bring a copy of this to your consultation. It could include critical information about the incident.
- Witness contact information: If there were any witnesses to the incident, bring their contact information. Your attorney may wish to speak with them to gather more information about the incident.
- Insurance information: Bring information about any insurance policies you may have, such as health or homeowner’s insurance, and any correspondence with the dog owner’s insurance company, if applicable.
- A detailed account of the incident: Write down everything you remember, no matter how trivial it may seem. Details can be important.
Remember, the consultation is a two-way conversation. It’s not just about the lawyer learning about your case but also about you understanding how the lawyer can assist you, their experience with similar cases, and whether you feel comfortable entrusting them with your case.
What to Expect from Our Experienced Nebraska Dog Bite Lawyers
Our experienced Nebraska attorneys are here to guide you through the legal process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve after a dog attack. At our personal injury law firm, we understand how traumatic and life-changing a dog bite can be. That’s why we’re committed to providing our clients with top-notch legal representation from start to finish.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Lincoln, knowing your rights is important. Our experienced Nebraska dog bite lawyers can help you navigate the complex legal system and fight for your right to fair compensation.
When you work with our experienced Nebraska dog bite lawyers, you can expect the following:
- A thorough case evaluation during your free consultation: Our team will conduct a detailed and honest assessment of your case, including investigating the circumstances surrounding the dog bite, the severity of your injuries, and the potential sources of compensation.
- Conduct a detailed investigation: Our lawyers will look into the dog bite incident in detail, take photos and conduct interviews to record important information and keep an eye on your medical records to ensure they are correct and you are getting the right treatment.
- Review and track your medical treatment and bills: We will ensure that your providers are documenting your injuries and treatment, and also that the bills for that treatment are being processed in the appropriate manner.
- Protect against unscrupulous insurance companies: We’re well-versed in dealing with insurance companies and will protect you from tactics that aim to diminish the value of your case.
- Regular communication: We will contact you regularly for personal status reports to ensure you’re informed and aware of the progress of your case.
- Filing a lawsuit if necessary: If the insurance company is unwilling to pay a fair value to settle, we will file a lawsuit to pursue your claim.
- No fees unless we win: We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t owe us anything unless we secure compensation on your behalf.
- Comprehensive legal support: We handle every aspect of your case, from filing insurance claims to representing you in court. This allows you to focus on your recovery rather than the intricacies of legal proceedings.
- Empathy and respect: We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a dog bite can have. We treat our clients with the utmost empathy and respect and are committed to supporting you throughout the legal process.
Remember, choosing the right attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Trust our Nebraska dog bite lawyers to guide you through this challenging time and work diligently to secure the justice and compensation you deserve.
Proven Results: Berry Law’s Track Record in Dog Bite Cases
At Berry Law, we take pride in our track record of successful case results. We have consistently achieved significant client verdicts and settlements, demonstrating our dedication and effectiveness in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.
Our experienced dog bite lawyers understand the nuances of these cases, and they know how to leverage evidence, Nebraska law, and negotiation tactics to get our clients the compensation they deserve. As a result, our clients have received exceptional settlements and verdicts over the years to cover their medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any case, we promise to bring the same tenacity, skill, and dedication to your case that we have brought to each of our successful outcomes. Trusting Berry Law with your dog bite case means entrusting it to a team committed to fighting relentlessly for your rights and interests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of our frequently asked questions include:
Can I Sue the Owner of a Dog that Bit Me Even If I Was Trespassing on Their Property in Nebraska?
Under Nebraska law, a dog owner is typically liable for injuries caused by their pet, regardless of whether the owner knew of the dog’s dangerous behavior. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including trespassing.
Specifically, the state’s dog bite statute is clear that a trespasser is generally not eligible to receive compensation if they suffer a bite while on another’s property without invitation or permission.
So, if you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property when you were bitten, you would likely have a much harder time winning a lawsuit against the owner unless you can prove that the dog had previously bitten another person or pet, invoking the so-called “one free bite” rule.
It is important to note that this is a complex area of law, and the case’s specific facts could influence the outcome. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advise based on your circumstances.
Will My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover the Damages If My Dog Bites Someone?
Generally, most homeowners insurance policies cover dog bites and other injuries caused by pets, at least up to the policy’s liability limits. If the claim exceeds those limits, the dog owner is personally responsible for all damages above that amount, including legal damages if a lawsuit has been filed.
However, it’s important to note that insurance policies can vary significantly. For example, some policies might not cover dog bites, while others might exclude certain breeds they deem “high risk.” Moreover, if your dog has bitten someone in the past, your insurance company might charge a higher premium or exclude your dog from coverage altogether.
It’s always best to review your policy or consult your insurance agent to understand what is covered and what isn’t. If your current policy doesn’t provide sufficient coverage, consider getting additional liability coverage or a specific dog liability policy.
In any case, if your dog has caused injury to someone, it’s important to consult with a legal professional to understand your obligations and potential liabilities.
Is It Possible to Negotiate a Settlement with the Dog Owner without Going to Court?
Yes, negotiating a settlement with the dog owner or their insurance company is often possible without going to court. This process typically involves presenting the other party with a detailed account of the incident, including the severity of the injuries, the cost of medical treatment, and any other damages suffered.
Negotiations can be time-consuming and complex, requiring knowledge of personal injury law and experience dealing with insurance companies. For this reason, it is often beneficial to have a personal injury lawyer handle these negotiations on your behalf. In addition, a lawyer can help ensure that you’re fully compensated for your injuries and that your rights are protected throughout the process.
However, suppose the other party refuses to settle or offers a significantly lower settlement than you believe you’re entitled to. In that case, it may be necessary to proceed with a lawsuit. Again, it’s important to consult a legal professional to understand your options and the best action for your situation.
Are Emotional Damages Considered in Dog Bite Injury Cases?
Yes, emotional damages are considered in dog bite injury cases. Emotional damages, often called “pain and suffering,” can be a significant component of a personal injury claim, including dog bite cases.
These damages are meant to compensate you for the psychological impact of an injury, including fear, anxiety, loss of sleep, and any other emotional distress. In the case of a dog bite, this can also include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a newfound fear of dogs, which can be particularly traumatizing for children.
The exact amount awarded for emotional damages varies and is generally determined based on the severity of the emotional distress, the impact on the victim’s life, and the circumstances of the incident. In some cases, testimony from a mental health professional may be necessary to establish the extent of these damages.
It’s important to note that proving emotional damages can be complex and usually requires the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. They can guide you through the process and ensure that all aspects of your suffering are adequately represented in your claim.
Can I File a Claim If a Dog Scared or Chased Me But Did Not Bite Me?
The answer depends on the situation’s specific facts. Generally, to file a personal injury claim in Nebraska, you must demonstrate that you suffered actual harm or injury. In the case of a dog scare or chase, if the incident did not result in physical injury, it may be difficult to make a successful claim.
However, there could be exceptions. For instance, if you were so frightened by a dog chase that you fell and hurt yourself while trying to escape, you could file a claim against the dog’s owner. Or, if the dog scare resulted in severe emotional distress or a diagnosable condition such as PTSD, a claim could potentially be pursued, although such cases are generally more difficult to prove and require the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Remember though that very specific and seemingly unimportant facts can dramatically change the legal outcome in situations involving dog scares or chases. Therefore, if you have been traumatized or injured in such an incident, it would be best to consult a personal injury attorney to understand your options.
Ready to Discuss Your Lincoln Dog Bite Case? Contact Berry Law Today
If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Lincoln, NE, it is important to understand your legal options and seek the guidance of an experienced dog bite lawyer.
Dog bites can result in serious physical and emotional injuries that can impact your quality of life. By working with a knowledgeable attorney, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation for your damages.
At Berry Law, we understand the complexities of dog bite cases and are committed to confidently helping our clients navigate the legal process. Our team will work to build a strong case on your behalf and negotiate with insurance companies to secure the best possible outcome.
With our help, you can focus on healing from your injuries while we handle the legal details. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our skilled Lincoln dog bite lawyers.